Kenneth Purcell, founder and CEO
founder and CEO of iSeatz, Kenneth Purcell oversees a company that provides
ancillary booking systems to major hotel, airline and financial service
companies and processed more than $3 billion in gross bookings in 2018. At The
Phocuswright Conference, he will take part in an executive roundtable on the
benefits and risks of using technology to match travelers with relevant offers.
In a series of interviews with executives participating at the event in Florida in November, PhocusWire finds out what makes them tick...
book do you recommend to others and why?
find that with four kids, a new puppy and running a growing company, I rarely
have time to read anything much longer than an article. But I did read an
article recently that I enjoyed - Hiring Hot Tip #30: The MOST Underutilized Skill for Executives by Barry Deutsch.
think about hiring a lot since we are in a high growth phase right now, and I
thought this was a good primer on how to validate candidate statements during
interviews. Getting good at hiring is one of the best things any entrepreneur
can do for their business.
do you do to alleviate stress?
but exercise. I found that once I committed to regular exercise my stress levels
us about your favorite vacation.
go wrong with renting a beach house. My family goes to Destin, Florida, every
isn't the travel startup survival rate higher than it is?
has so many moving parts and so much of the travel experience is offline - in
many cases pain points can’t be solved with only software. So there’s a big
barrier to entry.
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I think we’ve seen with companies like Airbnb, HotelTonight, CarTrawler and GetYourGuide that if you overcome those real-life challenges the industry is
very receptive to disruption and consumers are hungry for new solutions.
was your childhood aspiration?
I wasn’t a kid with a lot of concrete aspirations. I was a poor student and
liked to goof around and have fun. Of course now we see children with defiant
and trailblazing spirits as “entrepreneurial,” but that wasn’t the case when I
was growing up.
I started iSeatz (it was initially called HotSeatz back in 1997) it all started
to make sense.
is the person you most admire within the industry?
from my team there are a few folks I really admire. Arne
Sorenson of Marriott really “gets” the customer. And I think he is a visionary
when it comes to truly delighting guests. Herb
Kelleher, the founder of Southwest Airlines, is a legend. His personality set the tone
for how that company operates today.
your must-have app?
a MyFitnessPal fan. I also love Headspace, which is a meditation app that has a
lot of helpful exercises related to mindfulness and restoration.
is your proudest professional achievement?
has won New Orleans Best Place to Work for eight out of nine years. I’m
incredibly proud of the culture we’ve built and the team we have.
your morning routine?
wake up around 4:30 or 5 a.m. and spend time with my wife, kids and dog. I take
my kids to school and then head to the gym. I usually get into the office
around 9 a.m.
Executive Roundtable: A Segment of One - Have We Arrived?
How far are we from a frictionless end-to-end journey that meets all of the traveler’s unique needs? To what extent do travelers want this, and how should travel providers be considering the need for privacy and security in the equation?