AWS Travel and Hospitality Partner Conversations: 3Victors
Rick Seaney, CEO of 3Victors, joins Massimo Morin, WW Head, Solutions for AWS Travel and Hospitality, for a broad-ranging discussion around how AWS Partners are helping customers build resilience and prepare for what’s next in travel and hospitality.
During this unprecedented time for the industry, we have been inspired by the innovations that have been born out of disruption and will impact and improve the way we fly, eat, stay, and experience our world for years to come. Now more than ever, AWS wants to help customers succeed by connecting them to AWS Partners with deep AWS technical expertise and proven customer success to help travel and hospitality organizations build a resilient business and accelerate innovation. That’s why we’re honored to have 3Victors as a launch member of the brand-new AWS Travel and Hospitality Partner Competency.
Massimo Morin: Describe your company, the types of travel and hospitality work you do, and key travel and hospitality clients.
Rick Seaney: 3Victors is a 100% cloud-based, big data travel AI company specializing in travel data analytics as a service, which includes ingesting dozens of high velocity datasets (mostly air-related currently) including capacity, shopping, booking, and ticketing and providing data and insights to help travel companies of all types optimize their businesses as they move to data-driven decision making. The company was founded on marketing and ad tech use cases but has recently branched out into demand analytics to help track and optimize recovery activities throughout the travel ecosystem.
MM: Many companies across travel and hospitality have been managing through a period of unprecedented disruption. What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced during this recent period and how have you helped clients managed through them?
RS: There are enumerable challenges including resource cutbacks and unpredictable government actions/reactions. The biggest challenge has been that almost all travel companies optimize their businesses by forecasting from historical data that has been rendered almost useless for the foreseeable future (24+ months) as this black swan pandemic recovery unfolds. Coupling this with the fact that most travel companies have not been transitioning to real-time data driven analytics: they are literally left flying blind. Forecasting on the back of a napkin is a tough position to be in. Our unique demand dataset derived from user-initiated air shopping has breathed new life into the possibility of tracking and short-term forecasting travel companies are craving.
MM: It’s been an incredibly difficult time for travel and hospitality companies, but we’ve seen many companies investing for the long run. With all the uncertainty, why has your company chosen to invest in travel and hospitality at this time?
RS: Even before the pandemic, I believed – even more so now – that travel and hospitality companies were significantly behind in the generational change to AI-based data analytics and real-time, data-driven decision making that is likely to decide the winners and losers post recovery. We are a recently venture-funded, early-stage company with very close relationships to our clients and strong believers in the future of cloud computing. Luckily for travel and hospitality companies, given the current issues, it can tag along in the rapid advancements in areas like IoT and machine learning and the yearly cost savings afforded by heated cloud competition and Moore’s law.
MM: In the face of the current disruption to the travel and hospitality industry, we’ve observed incredible innovations coming from across the industry. How has your company innovated through these challenging times on behalf of your customers and what are you most proud of?
RS: We were forced to pivot away during this black swan pandemic event from our core use cases in travel ad tech and marketing ($26B travel spend in 2019) and concentrate on using our unique user search demand dataset to help companies forecast and chase demand during this extreme volatility time.
I am most proud of the work we did with our partners BCG and ARC in creating the very popular and relevant interactive public Travel Recovery Insights Portal. The Portal envisioned and tracked an entirely new travel purchase funnel incorporating completely new stages like market landscape, ability to travel (government restrictions) and user search demand along with tried-and-true booking/ticketing data. The feedback has been incredible.
MM: The travel and hospitality industry is incredibly resilient. As you look toward recovery, what role does technology play for your company moving forward? How do you see technology enhancing the customer experience and improving operational efficiency?
RS: That is an easy answer for a travel data analytics as a service provider – technology is at the heart of everything we do with a very heavy dose of cutting-edge AI and data science. There is a maxim in data science: 90% of your time prepping data 10% focused on the problem. We are trying to flip that on its head and have our clients concentrate 90% of their precious time on the problem at hand. Let us deal with the crazy complexity and costs of ingesting terabytes of data in real-time, cleaning it up, removing the noise, and providing it in the form their daily tools require. Travel was already hurtling headlong into a touchless world and the pandemic just accelerates that transition tenfold. I do think we need to be careful not to get too far out over our skis as data ethics, IP, and use rights are thorny issues that require some deep strategic thinking.
MM: How does building on AWS allow you to prepare for whatever the “new normal” in travel and hospitality will look like? How does the new AWS Travel and Hospitality Partner Competency help companies do the same?
RS: I am a fairly recent cloud skeptic that has turned into an unabashed evangelist with no end of uses for cost-effective cloud computing. I was knee deep in the AI revolution of the early 90’s, which was put in cryogenic storage until recently because compute power was too costly to run clever machine/deep learning algorithms at scale. Cloud computing and AWS in particular are a perfect partner for us as they have shown they’ll spend endlessly with some of the sharpest minds on advancements and services in AI and big data science. The new AWS Travel and Hospitality Partner Competency brings over a decade of cloud knowledge to bear as Crocodile Dundee said so aptly over three decades ago – and I paraphrase – “That’s not a cloud … Now that’s a cloud.”
MM: What makes you excited for the future of travel and hospitality? As a traveler or guest, where are you looking forward to visiting next?
RS: I guess I am selfish; my family and I love to travel. We have a map of the world with old school push pins dotting the globe that is feeling a bit lonely this year. I have to confess, it is true that my wife and I flew for dinner and back to Beijing several years ago (the real goal was achieving executive platinum status in one trip with 5x mile bonus). My daughter’s college summer abroad to Australia was unfortunately cancelled this year and we were going to meet up at the tail end and hop down to New Zealand for a few weeks – that still sounds like a good idea.
Learn more and team up with AWS Travel and Hospitality Competency Partners.
See more Partner Conversations and industry insights on the AWS Travel and Hospitality Blog.