Jerome Wise, TravelClick
Jerome joined TravelClick in 2005 and set up the web solutions and digital marketing division of the business. He has more than 30 years experience in the travel industry, spanning distribution and online marketing, including senior roles at Hilton and Travelport.
In a series of interviews with executives participating in the online event in September, PhocusWire finds out what they have learned from the COVID-19 crisis.
With the benefit of hindsight, if you could go back to the start of the crisis, what would you do differently?
We would have accelerated even more on key projects that will be critical for hoteliers on their road towards recovery.
Firstly, hoteliers relied on data about their past to help them plan for their future. Of course, this is now irrelevant, and we need to help them thanks to efficient forward-looking business intelligence tools.
Also, there are projects around touchless technologies that will be important to meet the latest expectations of travelers and increase their confidence.
Finally, we could have given the advice to hoteliers to consider closing their properties to improve them and be ready to fully capture the resuming demand.
What have you learned from this time about the way you'll manage and communicate with your team(s) moving forward?
We were actually working remotely before the crisis, so it was easy to adapt and to serve our customers as efficiently as before.
However, we are missing the direct interactions with our customers and as hospitality will always be a people first industry, we are looking forward to the moment we can all meet again.
What do you miss most about travel?
I have travelled for my work regularly for the past 25 years, so it has been strange not getting on a plane for five months.
I guess I miss the irregularity of my routine, which is something that I have become used to.
I miss talking with my clients and colleagues and learning from their thoughts and perspectives. And after all these years I do often still get a buzz from travel.
What have been the surprise benefits to not traveling?
Well, I’ve not put on a proper shirt for five months, apart from a t-shirt, let alone a suit, which has been nice. I’ve also managed to grow some vegetables and do a lot more cooking than I usually have time for.
I’ve had an unexpected amount of time with my son, who has moved back home for a few months, which has been a treat.
What lasting changes will there be to you personally from this time?
I think that the way we have been forced to work digitally will largely remain and travel will not be as frequent going forward, but the value of face to face will always win in the end.
The phrase “sorry I was on mute” will surely never be used as much as it has been in the past five months!
What has been your one guilty pleasure during lockdown?
I fully embraced the ability and time to exercise more and probably have never been fitter. I’m running or cycling each day and that allows me to eat pretty much what I like, so it’s what I call a win-win situation!
Executive Roundtable: The Hotel vs Rental Debate
Travelers are aching to get away – but with stipulations. Who will they trust most when it comes to lodging? Will they seek a secluded cabin in the countryside or a known and trusted hotel brand? Most likely party size, location and other factors will dictate the accommodations – find out how in this debate-style session.