Fast-growing German travel technology specialist Peakwork says it is seeing growth beyond expectations at it strives to create the world’s biggest travel marketplace.
The Dusseldorf-based business is headed up by chief executive Ralf Usbeck, the founder of Traveltainment, bought by Amadeus in 2006 making it the GDS’s leisure travel arm.
Speaking to Travolution at World Travel Market, Peakwork’s director of global business development, Annika Kessel, said it’s mission is to enable online e-commerce.
“We were not expecting the huge traction we have been getting,” said Kessel. “What we do is provide the data so firms can achieve higher performance.
“We really want this platform to be a community that talks to each other. We want to grow to become the world’s biggest travel marketplace.
“We are an enabler, a matchmaker. The reason Peakwork exists is because there is a drive for conversion in travel.
“We are expanding very fast, but no anywhere close to where we think we can be with this. We have big plans.
“There are many deals and much implantation is going to be realised in the next weeks and months.”
Peakwork’s Play Hub technology acts as a data bulwark for firms unable to handle huge amounts of data and spiralling systems demands, as customers shop more for travel.
The technology has drawn early interest from metasearch sites like KAYAK, Google and TripAdvisor as it enables greater volumes and categories of product to be bookable.
It currently works with many major airlines offering 39 flight connections – BA is a notable absentee – around 25 bed banks and the three main GDSs.
Areas like cruise, tours and activities and ground transportation are next on its roadmap. Opodo, Thomas Cook Netherlands and Tui are all live with front end websites powered by Peakwork.
“Our mission is to ‘onboard’ the product on to those websites so it can be sold. TripAdvisor wants tour operators because they have the product,” said Kessel.
“We help partners get APIs ready by putting a technology layer on top and then the likes of Google is able to consume that because we provide the speed.”
Other areas of particular interest to Peakwork are the OTAs, specialist offline segments looking to digitise their business and airlines.
“Airline vacations is one of the biggest customer segments we are targeting because we see so much traction and demand,” said Kessel.Cloud-based, Peakwork has established a partnership with IBM for global hosting maintenance and operations.
It is now well-established in Europe where it works with both Tui Travel and Thomas Cook and has one office in London, with another due to open soon, as well as its Germany HQ.
A new chief financial officer was appointed in June. Thomas van Kaldenkerken is also chairman of Baker Tilly Roelfs, one of Germany’s biggest partnership consulting firms.
Peakwork has just opened a Boston office where it has a project management base and is looking for someone to head up sales in Asia as it expands into APAC.
Kessel said Google is particularly interested in partnering in APAC to improve connectivity with suppliers for its hotel price ads.In August, due to demand from partners, it acquired a majority stake in front end developer Silversurfer 7 based in Cologne.
Kessel said the firm is seeing high double digit growth year on year and that between 2011 and 2014 Peakwork recorded 75% growth in turnover.
“Still the network is growing by customer demand,” said Kessel. “We see ourselves as enabling twenty first century travel.
“There is a lot of technology out there doing an amazing job and we partner with most of it to allow firms to source locally and distribute globally.”
Kessel said Peakwork has no ambition to move into the consumer facing sector and launch its own OTA.
However it has partnered with Sabre Travel Network to show how an OTA’s of the future might look providing a much simpler and useful user interface.
“At the moment, no one has really cracked user experience; there’s too much search, too much waiting and too many results. There is no curating really going on.”