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Interview: Adriana Varella, Director of Sales Rakuten TraveXchange


In this interview, we will meet Adriana Varella, Director of Sales at Rakuten TravelXchange, a company connected as a TravelgateX Partner for both buying and selling. Adriana explains the main challenges of her company for the coming months.

While concerns about the war in Ukraine, the economic crisis, uncertainty, is something that worries companies in the sector, and also Rakuten, on this occasion Adriana believes that the priority is the consolidation in the market, customer growth, inventory distribution in Japan and the expansion of direct contracts worldwide. On how our company helps her business, Adriana tells us that "TravelgateX gives us the opportunity to expand our business, distributing our products to clients worldwide, connecting us to more players".

Tell us a bit about you, what you do and your company​.​

I’m Adriana, Director of Sales for Rakuten Travel Xchange (RTX) and I’m based in São Paulo, Brazil. I’m currently in charge of the sales department, managing the global team.

About RTX…we are the hotel wholesale and travel technology division within the Rakuten Group. We distribute our global inventory and the directly negotiated rates of Rakuten Travel and Rakuten LIFULL STAY.

What are some of the biggest challenges for your sector right now?

If we talk about overall economic conditions, I will say the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, and fears of economic slowdown. Circumstantial conditions would be challenges like staff shortages after the pandemic, despite rising supply and demand.

What do you think are some of the biggest opportunities for the travel industry in 2022?

2022 is bringing lots of new opportunities to the travel industry, and the biggest one is the recover from the pandemic; there is a repressed demand out there. Companies that were able to look inside and reorganize during these past two and a half years, investing in training, technology, and products, will be able to pass through the year easily and more profitable than before.

What is a crazy or out-of-the-box product or technology that you would personally like to?

One app that collects worldwide information for tourists regarding Visa applications, COVID-19 restrictions, vaccines, travel requirements, currency, cultural information, etc, and matches with your personal information to plan your visit. Anything you need to know/do before travelling at one place, one click.

What is your favourite thing about working in hospitality/Travel/Tourism?

To be able to meet people from around the world, get to know and learn more from different cultures. 

What does TravelgateX add value to your business?

TravelgateX gives us the opportunity to expand our business, distributing our products to clients worldwide, connecting us to more players. 

What suggestions/challenges would you give to the Team X?

To think more about sustainable products as travellers are to become more aware of these issues, influencing their purchase decisions.

Can you talk more about solutions you think will be most impactful in the next 12 to 18 months as travel begins to recover?

Artificial intelligence and big data coming together, collecting massive information about travellers’ behaviours, and providing a better product and services for the tourists.

In addition, contactless tools will be an active topic during the coming months, travel companies will need to find ways to give more support to their clients during this innovative process.

What are the plans for 2023? Looking ahead to the next year, what are your top two or three priorities?

Our priority is to be consolidated in the market, increasing in number of clients and bookings, along with distributing our Japan inventory and expanding our number of direct contracts worldwide.

What advice do you have for young people just entering the travel technology space?

Of course, technology is important, and we need to all to have knowledge on it, however I would say to build strong relationships. Developing relationships is essential to the success of any business.