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Interview: Gon Ben -David, co founder and CEO Roomer

Gon Ben - David

Gon Ben-David is the co-founder and CEO of Roomer, a company founded in 2013 that connects travelers who made non-refundable reservations and can no longer travel, with travelers looking to buy their hotel reservations at a discount.
In this interview, Gon Ben-David explains how his company has evolved thanks to connectivity. He also reflects on the needs of consumers when traveling and the challenges of tourism after the crisis generated in recent years in the sector.

- What are some of the biggest challenges for your sector right now?
- Covid-19 is an unprecedented event, which is still impacting the travel sector in many ways – specifically with cancellations that happened all around the world, and an increased need in flexibility by travelers – while the need to protect and increase cash flows by travel companies, that were massively impacted in the last two years. 

- What do you think are some of the biggest opportunities for the travel industry in 2022?
The travel industry has a lot of potential to upgrade the flexibility and overall customer experience to the level customers are experiencing in other parts of their lives today. From a customer experience point of view, merchants like Amazon educated consumers that easy, simple fast refunds and flexibility wins in the long term, next to a wide variety of products. Hotel refund options today are not standardized, and the process changes from one supplier to another.
Also, as an industry, I think that we should be aware that there’s a growing gap between the way travelers consume their information online today – on platforms such as TikTok, Instagram and the user experience they’re expecting, to the way travel is presented and sold today.
In the end, travel is the ultimate offline experience – and there’s an industry-wide opportunity to level up the online experience associated with it.

- What is a crazy or out-of-the-box product or technology that you would personally like to ?
- The craziest out-of-the-box travel idea I would like to see developed would be Teleporting, as it could save a lot of money and time to all travelers around the world. 

- What is your favorite thing about working in hospitality/Travel/Tourism?
- Travel is the thing I love the most – I really believe that it is something that helps the mind, body and soul, and my favorite thing about working in this industry is the ability to partner with travel companies to help travelers in their travel experience

- What does TravelgateX add value to your business? 
- TravelgateX solves one of our biggest challenges: connectivity. Roomer has spent many years integrating into different suppliers and supporting partners who integrated the Roomer API directly. TravelgateX allows us to cut the integration cycle to the minimum and partner with more companies and add more inventory to the roomer marketplace. TravelgateX enables us to distribute roomer’s unique inventory to a growing number of partners, with minimum friction. 

- What suggestions/challenges would you give to the TeamX?
- The challenge that team is solving today – with inventory connectivity – can be very valuable in other areas of the travel funnel, such as ancillary revenue and other integrations, which today involve the same challenges we are all aware of – integration and connectivity. 

- Can you talk more about solutions you think will be most impactful in the next 12 to 18 months as travel begins to recover?
- I think that flexibility will remain a top priority for travelers, alongside finding the best travel rates in the r. Customers will be looking to gain as much clarity and confidence regarding their booking, especially as the transaction value increases, and flexibility solutions are going to be more important than ever. Also, I believe that more mobile-friendly, highly engaging ways to present the inventory will take place on the b2c fronts, as customers are expecting a new level of visual experiences across the web. 

- What are the plans for 2023? Looking ahead to the next year, what are you top two or three priorities?
- Roomer’s top priorities is to add more value to our partners and to the travelers around the world who use our services. We are focused on launching new partnerships for the Roomer Flex platform, that turns non-refundable bookings into flexible ones, and retaining their commissions in full, while we resell the canceled inventory.
We are focused on adding more supply to the Roomer marketplace via the Travelgate X platform, and distributing Roomer’s discounted and flexible inventory to Travelgate partners as well. 

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

- The travel market is very big, and focusing on one of the problems travelers and/or travel companies are facing today can be a very important process towards developing a valuable solution.
While the solution can change and develop over time, it’s very important, in my opinion, to get excited about the problem – and  validate it with the industry – is a very important process.