Collaboration will help us address ‘friction’ in travel, says partnerships chief

Collaboration will help us address ‘friction’ in travel, says partnerships chief

Rentalcars Connect hosted over 100 travel firms in Edinburgh at a first partners conference since its integration into parent Booking Group. Lee Hayhurst reports

Solving challenges with “friction” in the process of travelling will not be cracked without industry collaboration, the world’s most valuable travel firm told trade partners last week.

Speaking at the Rentalcars Connect partners’ conference in Edinburgh last week, senior executives from parent Booking Group said there was room in the industry for everyone.

Ripsy Bandourian,’s senior director of partnerships and business bookers, said:

“The fact there is friction today means we are probably not fast enough at it [addressing problems].

“These problems are so big. If they were easy to solve we would have done so by now.

“It takes every single one of us plus a whole bunch of people not in this room working together to figure out these problems.

“The world is big enough for all of us to solve these problems together. We cannot own this whole industry.”

The 2018 Rentalcars Connect Partners Conference saw around 140 delegates gather in Edinburgh from around the globe, including China, Russia, Israel and many parts of Europe.

Bandourian said integration with partners was vital. “We need to understand what it is that makes our businesses grow better together and we will deliver that.

“It’s about innovating and making sure we can drive conversions across the whole vertical. What’s important is how we do this together.

“This is a growing market; it will continue to grow and there is plenty of space for everyone to grow together.

“We all work within different consumer groups and in different geographies. We would love to see that innovations are brought to market as broadly as possible.

“It’s important for us to be externally focussed and make sure we work together within this ecosystem.”

Bandourian added: “The industry still has a huge amount of friction in it.

2If you think about what technology has done in ecommerce, it’s been removing friction and making the consumer experience better and better. Travel should not be painful. It should be delightful.”

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