INTERVIEW: Greg Berman, COO Shiji Distribution Solutions
Posted by Vero
Below he tells the TravelgateX Network all about how he got to where he is, his view on hotel distribution and his advice for people starting out in travel tech.
According to Berman, China's domestic market, including business and leisure travel, has been growing since July last year with levels higher than 2019. His forecast for the rest of the world is that the last 6 months of 2021 will be completely opposite to the first 6 months of the year, as regions and countries will begin to reopen: domestic travel first, followed by the opening of international corridors.
Could you tell us a bit about your professional journey and how you became COO at Shiji Distribution?
After spending the first 12 years of my career in the global IT consulting industry, an opportunity to join an executive management team turned my career path directly into hospitality technology specifically focused on global distribution. 20 years later, I have had the opportunity to be in senior leadership positions across well-known distribution solutions/services companies including Hotel Booking Solutions, eRevMax, DHISCO & now Shiji Distribution.
Could you share a couple things you love and find challenging about your job?
On a personal level with travel being one of my main hobbies, being able to work in an industry that I love makes it really easy to get out of bed every morning & jump into growing the Shiji Distribution business. On a professional level, the relationships developed partnering across hotel companies, distributors & technology providers to deliver & evolve solutions that drive the industry is continually challenging.
How are you feeling overall about the global economy given everything that’s going on right now as it relates to travel?
It is clear that in many ways China is post pandemic with their economy being the only major global economy with positive GDP growth in 2020. China’s domestic market including business & leisure travel are engaged since July of last year with levels over 2019. For the rest of the world, I feel like the last 6 months of 2021 will be completely opposite to the 1st 6 months of the year as regions & countries begin to re-open up – domestic travel first followed by international corridors opening up. With 90% of the global airline industry participating in IATA, do not discount IATA initiatives to help standardize vaccine/immunity proof travel integrated with country level immigration processes.
How did Shiji become part of the TravelgateX marketplace, and what kind of Partners would benefit from connecting to Shiji?
Shiji Distribution began working with TravelgateX through mutual distribution & hotel partners requiring connectivity including dynamic, static and visual content. Whether it be access to our global visual content distribution business or access to the largest networks for China supply and demand, accessing Shiji Distribution can enable significant opportunities across the travel industry landscape aligned to companies’ business strategies.
Looking ahead to 2021, what are your top two or three priorities?
Continue to grow the Shiji Distribution business globally including newly integrated offerings, drive brand awareness into new markets, and continue to partner with the industry to evolve the global distribution travel business for all of its participants.
What advice do you have for young people just entering the travel technology space?
Soak up the knowledge. Whether you have access to industry thought leaders in your own company, access to innovative business models or access to travel industry groups discussing cutting edge thinking, seek and soak up the knowledge. The industry is a tight-knit group of professionals who are very excited to provide knowledge transfer so in that regard, it is a great industry for new professionals to develop their skills and grow their career.