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Con-X interview: Isaac Hernández, country manager Spain and Portugal at Google Cloud

In today’s interview, Isaac Hernández talks about what does the future hold for travel companies and how they can evolve and adapt their business to succeed.

How can travel businesses benefit from your company?

Since our launch 20 years ago, people have been using Google to find information about their flights and hotels but also about their travel destination, it’s climate, local culture, visa requirements and translations like “How to say thank you in Portuguese?”

Nowadays with the acceleration of mobile, travel consumers have increasingly sought immediate, relevant and assistive experiences and at Google, that is exactly what we are doing — building products that help others grow and create more immersive travel experiences for users.

In order to stay relevant, many companies are taking a Digital/Business transformation journey, and we are aware of how cloud is disrupting the travel industry. New cloud-native (companies born in the cloud), for instance, are challenging the old business models and the competitive advantage of scale is being eroded.

Cloud technology can help you drive innovation, give you complete insights like you never seen before, help generate value from new user experiences, reduce costs and improve efficiency. However, we understand that the transformative process is daunting, with so much at stake for the business.

That’s why Google wants to become the partner of choice. Working together, we can meet your goals and carry forward your digital/business transformation ambitions.

What cutting-edge initiatives are you promoting to stay ahead of the competition?

Taking on new projects and transforming the whole business can be a great challenge and we know that our customers are looking for something more than a technology provider – they also look for partnership and support.

We believe that the following considerations are critical:

  • Security: the travel industry has access to a large amount of personal data and with the increase of online reservations and the rapid adaptation of consumers to this new way of planning their trips, our duty is to help protect the data of those customers.
  • Accessibility: The travel industry profits and margins are built on the most advanced mix of technologies (web technologies, ad and travel tech, hosted services…) The technical advantage a company can obtain is critical to the success of the business. One of the great opportunities of cloud technology is the ability to combine and integrate different tools and platforms, but most importantly offers freedom from vendor lock-in.
  • Collaboration: With growing demand and high expectations from customers, the tourism industry and businesses need to be able to innovate at a much faster pace. Today’s workforce is evolving dramatically technologically and even more culturally. Cloud-powered solutions can foster a connected culture across physical boundaries.
  • Intelligence: Traveller expectations of the service experience are challenging the industry and how it operates. The exponential rise of traveler data allows the processing of complex data sources to generate insights and action, powered by AI and Machine Learning. The companies that will succeed in this new environment will be those that capitalize on those insights.

What disruptive technologies will be available in the next couple of years and how do you think the tourism industry will benefit from them?

The travel and hospitality industry has been changing and adopting technologies at an astonishing pace. Customer’s rising expectations in their travel purchases have pushed many companies to rethink how to evolve and cater to their needs.

We work closely with our key customers to support them in the travel and hospitality industry of the future. If we had to highlight some of the disruptive technologies that will have a significant impact in the coming years, we would say that machine learning and artificial intelligence, the Internet of things, voice technologies and augmented/virtual reality are undoubtedly some of the most promising.

What are the challenges faced by your clients at this moment?

Moving to the cloud can mean something different in every organization. Even groups within organizations may have different goals and objectives, or maybe they may even be at different levels of maturity.

We know that there are common problems that companies are experiencing today and that we will continue to face in the future and the main ones can be summarized as follows:

How do I modernize the infrastructure?

They want to stop managing their own infrastructure, but many depend on the legacy infrastructure. However, by moving to Google Cloud, companies can focus their human and capital resources on their core business and unlock the potential to transform their business via cloud-native tools, leaving the maintenance of the infrastructure to us.

How do I create insights from data?

Most customers have all the data they need at their fingertips, but they struggle to manage that data on a large scale and consequently complicates making business decisions. By migrating to the cloud, customers can meet the growing expectations of companies and provide valuable information from the data.

How do I accelerate application innovation?

It does not matter if it is because internal applications are critical for the business or because key customer-oriented applications generate revenue, companies must constantly innovate in order to stay ahead and that is not always easy. The cloud offers organizations the ability to be drivers of innovation, allowing the creation of applications to meet the needs of employees and customers.

How do I transform how teams work?

Collaboration also plays an important role in modernization, however, the greatest barrier to digital transformation is people and culture. Platforms such as Gsuites offers collaboration and connectivity to transform companies into agile and digital organizations and helps them to remain relevant in the constantly changing environment.

What essential features are you looking for in an ideal partner?

Google and its partners have long shared a vision and goal – to help users get things done, and create more immersive travel experiences for them. However, we also work hard to help partners unlock new growth opportunities.

By working together, we can help companies to achieve their digital/business transformation initiatives by leveraging the full potential of the cloud and jointly address known and unforeseen challenges. It is the only way to continually challenge the status quo of the industry and take advantage of technology to enable innovation within the company.

How crucial are technology and creativity to your business?

Technology is the heart of our company and connectivity is part of our daily lives. Google has a specially designed infrastructure that consists of a private network, isolated from the public Internet. We have invested more than $ 46 billion over the last three years in infrastructure, including interests in hundreds of thousands of miles of networks and 7 new submarine cables.

Our network delivers low latency but also improves security. Once customers’ traffic is on our network it is no longer transiting the public internet, making it less likely to be attacked, intercepted, or manipulated.

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