26 NOV, 2014
Anup Patil is the former Chief of Operations at Tavisca Solutions. He has been responsible for the day-to-day operations and evolution of the company. He has evolved a profitable team of over 300 Travel Technology Specialists.
Being a visionary, Anup is the brain behind clarifi and has led an entire team to work hand in hand to make this product what it is today, giving the Hospitality Industry a whole new dimension. He is an opulent leader who has led tavisca for three successive years among the Top 100 Best Places to Work in India, in the SME category.
Anup holds a Master’s degree from the University of Clemson, South Carolina in Materials Science and Engineering. He is also a serial entrepreneur who has evangelized solutions for different industries, ranging from Hotel Content Aggregation, to crowdfunded portfolios for the real estate sector and is currently working on IOT of connected cars.
Given below is a heart to heart conversation on clarifi, how this product successfully changed the face of online Hotel Industry, his thoughts on brand recognition being parallel to a great workplace culture and finally a proud moment for clarifi to get recognition from PhoCusWright.
Q. Great brand is a result of a great culture adhered in the workplace. What are your thoughts about this?
One of the best things that happen in tavisca is the innovation culture. tavisca has organized many Hackathons and a lot of ideas have resulted out of those events. Inside tavisca people have the freedom to explore new technologies and avenues to come up with creative solutions to an existing problem. With this philosophy of being experimental, we focused on a few products in our portfolio and to come up with the solutions to existing industry-wide pains. I guess this motivation helped us to some extent; as a result we were able to churn out eight amazing products.
It is all about giving the right kind of freedom to the employees, having the right set of cultures and environment with a well-balanced advisory body which can help and groom people to bring those products into the market. Defining the right set of features to explore the market is something that has been our core strength which we have been leveraging pretty well.
Q. Apart from being a known visionary, you are also a leader. Do you think great visionaries make extraordinary leaders?
That is a very interesting question. So there are two aspects to this, and we need to look at both of them in an individual sense. Leaders are those who show the path to individuals where they will not go otherwise, by themselves. Visionaries, on the other hand, can evangelize things that do not exist currently. In simpler words they can foresee the future, by predicting the need of certain things that is required to move forward.
Creating a vision is more of a mental process, but a great leader can make people believe in the vision, and transform that vision to reality. That’s how leaders and visionaries go hand in hand to make things happen and come up with the most interesting and innovative products in the market.
Q. What, according to you, are the qualities that a leader should possess in order to manage people efficiently?
A leader should be able to imbibe and inculcate a belief in people that they can achieve excellence. People know that there is a certain better state that exists, but they will not go there by themselves. The leader should have the capability to transform that knowledge into belief and make people follow it. Beyond that, leaders ought to be selfless, and they have a very high self-conduct. If you look back in history, you will see that some of the greatest leaders are also great storytellers, which means they are able to transform their vision in the form of stories to make people believe in it. They are able to bring simplicity to a lot of complex ideas.
Q. Talking about Visionaries being great leaders, you visualized a product like ‘clarifi’ and led a lot of people to help you shape it. What was your vision when you came up with something like this?
clarifi was one of the products that was not a mainstream offering for a long time and was used as a support system for client needs for content updates on a monthly basis. We realized that it was a diamond in the rough with multiple opportunities that can exist out of this product. We worked aggressively thereafter to build the right vision and robust infrastructure to deliver the entire content in near real-time. In the current scenario, content aggregation and the speed of content delivery are two of the most pressing issues, which needed to be taken into consideration. While doing the market research we realized that we could open up this entire system to the whole world for them to consume benefits from the power of aggregation and quality of content that the product is able to deliver. Our existing sets of clients have already benefited and are a good market validation of the power of clarifi that it has brought to the table.
Q. ‘clarifi’ has been selected in PhoCusWright, among 32 most innovative Travel Technology products. How lucky do you consider yourself?
PhoCusWright is a leading travel research organization and the events conducted by them carry a lot of weight in the industry. The organization itself is quite prestigious and popular in the travel industry. Its research has foremost authority in travel and getting recognition from them in itself is definitely a proud moment for tavisca as well as clarifi. Beyond that, it gave us a belief that we are moving in the right direction, with the right solution. The most complex industry problem in today’s world is in the field of aggregation and distribution.
Q. What provoked you and your team to come up with a product like clarifi?
One of the most pressing problems in the hospitality industry currently is having access to credible and quality content. Every consumer, at the time of booking (online or otherwise) must have access to credible and verified content that enables them to take a decision at the time of booking. That content should contain a seal of verification claiming that it is curated and verified. Unfortunately, such a thing doesn’t exist right now! The industry is also marred with fake reviews and ratings and puts to question the source and authenticity of such contents. It was high time for a product or a system that brings up clean online content with speed and accuracy. Hence, clarifi…The acceleration coupled with the veracity with which it gives you curated content is commendable.
Citing a classic example that I tend to give is that a brand change is not an uncommon factor in the Hotel Industry. With brand change, comes a change in offerings. But when a consumer is booking online, how fast the site can provide information to him that, say Hotel X has undergone a brand change and currently taken over by so and so brand. Now with this vital piece of information, the consumer can decide accordingly. This is one from many aspects missing in the hospitality industry and clarifi precisely solves that.
Q. If given the option to go back in time only to change or enhance clarifi, would you consider it?
No, we will not change anything! clarifi is on the right path, solving the right problems perfectly. The future is extremely exciting, based on the way things are being done currently. Interesting features will be released soon which has the potential to change the entire travel industry. We are working on a certain revenue model, which will help OTAs and travel agencies to subscribe to the content curated by clarifi. We have spent lot of time coming up with the current roadmap and new business model. So we can say that we are, without any doubt, on the right path.
Q. Did this product do justice to your vision?
Oh, it absolutely did! And nobody can ask for more than that. It currently processes 2 billion data points across the entire set of content; it funnels down close to 2 million hotel records (non- unique hotels) to 750,000 unique hotels. It is processing somewhere around 28 million amenity records in real-time and delivering this entire content in near real-time to the travel agents and clients that we have. The consumers can take a decision before and even after the booking.
Q. What makes clarifi a unique selection?
One of the most important aspects of clarifi is content standardizing. Beyond that, it is easy for online travel agencies to adopt this application. Say you are an OTA, and you have 30 suppliers giving you content. All you have to do is subscribe to clarifi and get access to deduplicated, verified and curated high-quality content from clarifi. Upon setup your worries of regular content updates are taken care of. For any OTA, the cost of content maintenance is very high. clarifi significantly brings down the cost of maintaining such humongous data to a negligible amount, also providing them with rich content and high resolution images. All this in near real-time! These features, in a way, make clarifi a unique offering in the market.
Q. In the era of ‘.com’s how do you think that clarifi would be received by the agents?
We did a validation of the product and some market research, and we also talked to the OTAs and showcased them the concept. There was an immense interest from the OTAs for access to the content. The inquiries have been pouring in since then as OTAs can see a significant reduction in their operation cost. Travel agents are really excited about clarifi, mainly the travel agents with an online presence.
About ‘travelnxt- live’
“travelnxt-live” – A The Travel Technology Knowledge Forum For Travel Professionals, powered by Tavisca Solutions. travelnxt-live provides advisory services to travel business professionals in-depth to understand and evaluate Travel Technology better, through insightful webinars, articles, and thought papers.
The world’s first real-time hotel mapping and descriptive content delivery system. A patent-pending technology solution aimed to resolve the inconsistent distribution of hotel content across major hotel content providers.
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