AWS Travel and Hospitality Partner Conversations: Wavicle
Naveen Venkatapathi, managing partner of Wavicle, joins Florian Tinnus, WW Partner Leader 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 Wavicle as a launch member of the brand-new AWS Travel and Hospitality Partner Competency.
Florian Tinnus: Describe your company, the types of travel and hospitality work you do, and key travel and hospitality clients.
Naveen Venkatapathi: Wavicle designs and delivers rapid data and analytics solutions to reduce the time, cost, and risk of companies’ data projects, improving the quality of their analytics and decisions now and into the future. We help our clients leverage cloud-native technologies to ingest, analyze, and share growing volumes of data and enable advanced analytics, augmented data management, machine learning, and artificial intelligence products.
We also offer a voice of customer advanced text analytics solution on the AWS Partner Network to help travel and hospitality companies better understand and act on the vast amounts of consumer feedback they collect including internal systems like customer surveys and external social media data.
Wavicle works with McDonald’s, a leading global hotel chain, and others in the industry.
FT: 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?
NV: There were very few businesses or industries that did not face some type of disruption. Of course, the travel and hospitality industry was hit hard from the start. Restaurants and hotels had to quickly shift the way they conducted business to make their customers feel safe and comfortable.
We helped a food service client get insights from their customer feedback systems by overcoming operational challenges. Instead of making a cumbersome change to the company’s global customer survey, we focused on building cloud-native machine learning (ML) capabilities to quickly scale and address their needs. This involved ingesting open-end survey responses (unstructured) and social feeds so they could use the insights gleaned to identify opportunities for improvement and reinforce what was working well when it comes to pandemic safety protocols at their locations.
In the hospitality space, historical data-based Revpar models could not capture the abrupt change in travel we had just experienced. However, we have built models to help a large hotel chain predict revenue management more accurately moving forward by using airline reservation data to predict travel trends. This helped them drive more efficient marketing campaigns and optimize marketing spend.
FT: 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?
NV: We passionately believe that it is in everyone’s nature to seek out new experiences, to socialize, and to share. To that effect, our yearning for travel and hospitality services will never fade. However, we acknowledge, during this difficult time and moving forward, the way those services are consumed will change.
Our combined decades of experience in the industry and our analytics expertise has uniquely positioned us to enable our clients to be successful in this new environment and help them transform the way services are delivered. We are making the investments now to foster an ecosystem where all of us, including our clients, our technology partners – like AWS – and our team can grow through these difficult times.
We also think, there is a bigger socio-economic factor to this as well. The restaurant and travel industries provide trillions of dollars to the US economy. Helping these industries meet consumers’ demands better with cloud-based solutions will be beneficial for the country’s economy and all consumers.
FT: 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?
NV: To be successful moving forward, companies must have a singular focus on the customer. We are launching our text analytics solution, ActiveInsights, in the AWS Marketplace. This allows restaurants and hotels to collect, integrate, and analyze large amounts of consumer feedback – from unstructured CSAT responses, to social reviews, to chats, to email, and others so they can quickly identify areas of improvement, spot product opportunities, or develop strategies for increasing loyalty and reducing churn. We are extremely proud of this solution. It provides a lightweight, quick-to-implement solution to all companies in the industry and is a testament to our team’s innovation.
FT: 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?
NV: The traditional business model is changing post-COVID. Automation will be a key driver in enhancing the customer experience and improving operational efficiency moving forward.
In the case of restaurants, the way consumers order and eat food rapidly shifted from eating on-premises to delivery or carry out. As multiple parties become involved, there is going to be a great need to understand the customer and how to offer a positive brand experience from the time food is prepared in the kitchen until it reaches the customers’ door.
FT: 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?
NV: Cloud-based solutions make it easier for business partners – for example, the restaurants and delivery service previously mentioned – to collaborate. It also makes it easier for travel and hospitality companies to choose a qualified AWS Partner to help them solve their problems.
FT: What makes you excited for the future of travel and hospitality? As a traveler or guest, where are you looking forward to visiting next?
NV: We always relish what we don’t have. I think once we start traveling and eating in restaurants again, we’re going to savor those moments. They will be that much more memorable and important because we won’t take them for granted after this pandemic. And, I think our experience will be better due to the changes and investments the industry is making to listen and address consumer needs.
Huge investments are being made in the travel and hospitality space to win the race for customer loyalty. This will lead to an elevated customer experience and I am super excited to see all the innovations come to fruition in this space.
I now have a much better appreciation of my travel and hospitality experiences, which I took for granted. There are many experiences I am looking forward to – that summer trip with the family, brunch with friends, getting to know your clients in a personal setting and a mouthwatering dosa at my favorite restaurant. However, I am specifically looking forward to a trip to Birmingham, UK to meet my new nephew who was born in March and possibly catch a Manchester United game at Old Trafford while I am there. ?
Naveen Venkatapathi is a founder and managing partner at Wavicle Data Solutions, a professional services firm that designs and delivers rapid data and analytics solutions. The fast-growing firm is fueled by its unrelenting focus on customer centricity, talented diverse and inclusive teams, accelerators with services methodology, and strong technology partnerships in the analytics space.
Before founding Wavicle, Naveen spent a decade advising large corporations – spanning industries from restaurants to hospitality to banking to retail – on how to harness the power of data analytics and effectively utilize data strategies. He is a thought leader who has helped several global enterprises achieve data-driven results by customizing their cloud data platforms & data products to meet their unique needs.
Naveen holds a Bachelors of Science in Engineering from Bharathiar University and a Masters of Science from the University of South Florida. He lives with his wife and two kids in the Chicago area.
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See more Partner Conversations and industry insights on the AWS Travel and Hospitality Blog.