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Interview: Eduardo de Andrade, Head of Product

We interviewed Eduardo de Andrade, Head of Product at TravelgateX. He explains on a personal level how the situation has changed after the pandemic, the new way of working in the team and the possibilities that TravelgateX offers to the travel industry. He highlights the new developments for the coming year, the progress of the team and above all for the customers who will find in TravelgateX the company that will help create more impact in the business of their Partners. 

- On a personal level, how has it been the experience for you to work this last year in TGX going from being a service company to a product?
- A double challenge. Firstly, a challenge because any transformation process in an organization is, by itself, a big challenge: it requires strong leadership and alignment from the management, including possible style adjustments. At the organizational level, it implies changes in the culture, which needs to be more collaborative and less "departmental", and in the structure itself, with the introduction of new areas, roles, objectives and responsibilities. The strategy is also modified or adjusted. As a product company, we need a more holistic view of all our services. We started to work with concepts such as portfolio and budgeting. The need arises to introduce the idea of Product Discovery, where we continually seek to minimize uncertainty and risks when addressing problems and initiatives, in addition to improving everything we already do in Product Delivery. In other words, we need to be more assertive in conceiving the right product (discovery) and then building it correctly (delivery). And, last but not least, there is execution, which brings with it changes in the way we think, how we collaborate.
Double because we come from a pandemic. For most of us, in my opinion, it was a difficult experience, hard, sometimes sad, when what we need most in a transformation process is attitude and desire. It had a negative impact not only on our souls but also on our resources.
All in all, I am sure that a couple of years from now we will look back and reflect: how did we do it, how hard we have worked and how good we are!

- What products are positioned in TGX ready for customers? What advantages do they have? 
- This is a very good question because it serves to clarify the false idea that there is a non-ready product. Ready product is a pleonasm.
Today the Marketplace is our core product. It is where we have the connectivity that allows the exchange between supply (Sellers) and demand (Buyers). Our connection hub is something quite consolidated and scalable. We have different connection methods (Pull, Push), a powerful distribution tool, hundreds of connected partners, a high volume of traffic and daily transactions. It also represents the gravitational center of our current business and monetization model. Here our time-to-market, or rather time-to-money, is undeniable, and I am not saying it myself, but all the partners with whom I have spoken. However, stating that it is our main product and that it is consolidated does not mean that there are no problems or that we do not have to improve it. On the contrary, and we are working on it.
Next to our Marketplace we have a series of applications that enhance it. Monitoring Apps such as Stats, Logging and Alerts. Intelligent traffic apps, such as Speed (our passive cache) and Traffic Optimizer. Each one has its own value proposition, although always complementary to our Marketplace.

- What are the main product aspects that team members should keep in mind?
- That we are here to (1) identify the customer need and (2) create a useful product that meets that need and solves the problems of our customers and our business. That means that this product has to be valuable (product manager's responsibility), usable (design team's responsibility), technically feasible (engineering team's responsibility), as well as business viable (product manager's responsibility).

- What is new for customers in 2022, and what will the product department focus on in the coming months? 
- In this last quarter of 2021 we are laying the groundwork for next year. For 2022 I would highlight:
1.- Greater agility, speed and quality in our connections which will imply in a considerable reduction of time in our current Onboarding process;
2.- Our Smart Traffic solutions will play an important role in solving the problem of excess traffic, inherent to the current inefficiency of the sector;
3.- Every TravelgateX connection will also have a native solution for the mapping problem, both for hotels and rooms;
4.- We will also move forward with Network, which has the challenge of solving the meeting and communication between Buyers and Sellers, and with our directory of applications, both for internal and external use, by our Tech Partners.

- Why is it important to promote TGX's online community?
- Initially it represents a new channel of dialogue between TravelgateX and its partners. On the one hand, we constantly inform them what we are doing and what impact it has on their business. On the other, we are able to receive, in a structured way, their feedback on what we deliver as well as their ideas on possible new issues we should address. Ultimately it should play a role not only as a communication channel but also as a space for sharing experiences with our products, collective learning, trust building, training, and fostering innovation.

- What message would you convey to the team, what do you think needs to be focused on, what can be improved, changed?
- The time has come to take a step forward and strengthen our relationship, as the product team that we are, with our customers/partners. And for this, the experience and the bridges already built by the people in the Growth, Marketing and Customer Care teams are essential. So, let's shake hands and... It's time to get out of the building!