HotelPlanner is a leading travel technology company that combines proprietary artificial intelligence capabilities and a gig-based 24/7 global travel agent concierge platform to meet every hotel needs of travelers from a single platform.
Photo credit: HotelPlanner
hotel planner CEO Tim Hentschel recently spoke with high life on the company’s continued growth and successful adaptations to uncertain times as the travel industry continues to recover.
High Life: Can you explain what makes HotelPlanner so appealing to customers traveling in groups?
Tim Hentschel: We’ve been in business for 18 years. We’re founder-owned and operated, and our co-founder and CIO John Prince (top of his class at Northeastern in IT) runs our proprietary AI-enabled booking engine entirely in-house. Intrinsically, advanced technology is behind everything we do. We like to combine high-tech and high-touch, and that’s why we’re superior in the areas of group hotel bookings – all major online travel agencies (i.e. Expedia, Booking, etc.) use our services. In 2020, we also launched a one-of-a-kind call center based on the same high-tech and high-touch concept.
HL: Your company has shown great foresight and ingenuity in taking advantage of the gig economy. How well would you say ingenuity matches your company’s mindset?
TH: A little. Obviously COVID-19 has been very hard on the travel industry, so our pivot made sense as the gig economy allows us to provide localized and personalized service. This is important because during COVID people had a lot of questions about local protocols, which hotels were still operating and at what capacity, and under what regulations those hotels were operating. As we emerge from COVID and travel rebounds strongly, the demand for personalized services continues to grow – we currently have around 3,500 budget travel agents, so it’s clear that people really like the service.
Photo credit: HotelPlanner
HL: Due to the consequences of the pandemic, do you think there is going to be a shift where travel will become an even bigger part of our global culture?
TH: I can tell you that the rebound was very quick and very robust. The volume we are seeing is huge and the customers we are getting are less price sensitive than I have seen in the 20 year history of selling hotel rooms online. It shows that there is a strong desire to get back on the road and in the sky. People want to indulge themselves, so this return to travel has been dominated by leisure travelers. These are people eagerly looking for new experiences and reliving life now that the pandemic is more or less behind us.
HL: We understand that your company recently managed to more than double its turnover. What would you attribute this success to?
TH: I think it’s a combination of demand for localized services through our gig-based travel agent concierge platform, as well as strong demand from the travel industry, with everyone wanting to come back and travel again. So really, we have two very positive tailwinds for us right now.