The Future of Travel: An Interview with Chinmai Sharma, President, Distribution, RateGain

Chinmai Sharma, President, Distribution, RateGain, speaks candidly about how technology is changing our familiar world of travel

Technology has fundamentally altered our experience of travel. Gone are those days, when haggling with travel agents for cheaper tickets and hotel bookings was the norm. Technology today has not only made travel bookings easier for the consumers, it has also substantially led to the growth in the number of travellers, helping companies to increase profits and expand their operations. RateGain is a leading provider of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) products, which are third-party host applications made available to consumers over the internet. 
In doing so, it helps the revenue, distribution and marketing manager to overcome the daily challenge of generating revenue in this rapidly changing and dynamic environment. To get a clearer picture of the changing eco-system of the travel industry, Today’s Traveller met Chinmai Sharma, who spoke at length about the highlights of RateGain, his views on the Indian market and the future plans in store for the company.

In your opinion, what are the unique selling points of RateGain?
RateGain is a leading provider of SaaS products, which help travel and hospitality companies with a host of services, such as cognitive revenue management, smart e-distribution, and brand engagement to maximise revenue. RateGain, presently supports more than 125,000 hotel properties globally, by providing 240 billion rate and availability updates, and powering over 30 million bookings. RateGain is trusted by 25 out of the top 30 online travel agents, world’s fastest-growing airlines, 23 of the top 30 hotel chains, premier tour operators and wholesalers, top car rental companies, some of the largest cruise lines, and travel management companies.

How is RateGain faring in the Indian market?
The company was founded by Bhanu Chopra in 2004. Presently, it works with the market leaders in the travel and hospitality industry on a global scale. In India, the company has partnered with OYO Rooms, MakeMyTrip, PayTM, Yatra, Indigo, SpiceJet, Oberoi Hotels & Resorts, Lemon Tree Hotels & Resorts, Wyndham International, GO Air, Leela Palaces Hotels & Resorts, Marriott International, Taj Hotels & Resorts, ITC Hotels, Ginger Hotels, Sarovar Hotels & Resorts, Accor International, Hyatt International, IHG, Royal Orchid Hotels, and The Lalit, just to name a few. Over the last one year, the company has more than doubled its revenue. The accolades and achievements we have received over the years in the Indian market speak volumes about our formidable growth. In 2019, the company won Deloitte’s Asia Pacific Technology Fast 500 Award for the fourth time and the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce “Start-up of the Year” award. RateGain has also won India’s Emerging 20 Award for Outstanding Performance in Technological Innovation.

What are the future plans of the company for the Indian market?
As Indians, we are fortunate that the largest human capital base is here. We are a leading SaaS company in the travel industry in India, but our ambitions are global. RateGain in 2020 will be focusing on introducing more innovations, such as Market Drone and Smart Distribution across its various platforms. 
The travel industry, both in India as well as globally, is undergoing transformational changes and we will be advancing our AI-powered distribution, marketing and rate intelligence platforms, in order to cope with real-time market changes designed to reduce cognitive load from users. On the merger and acquisition front, RateGain has been expanding its capabilities through key acquisitions over the past couple of years and will continue to make further inroads in core areas to strengthen its current platforms and leverage their collective capabilities. This will not only drive value but also increase profitability for our clients.

Finally, how do you maintain your work-life balance?
When it comes to the service industry, maintaining a healthy work-life balance is becoming increasingly difficult. Thankfully, I am helped by my able team members who are well-equipped to share my workload. Additionally, I set aside a few hours each day just to spend time with my family. 
Prioritisation of tasks also helps. RateGain’s HR policies also support work-life balance for our employees. We provide benefits, such as work from home, generous leave policies, and dedicated gym facilities. 
Our HR policies have fetched a host of awards and certificates, such as “Great Place to Work”, “HR Strategy in line with Business Award” by World HRD Congress, “Learning Strategy of the Year Award” by UBS Forum, “Best CSR Impact Award” by UBS forums and many more.

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