Business travel platform TravelPerk has appointed Ross McNairn as chief product officer as the company continues to develop its product offering.
McNairn brings with him front-line industry experience, having co-founded corporate travel technology company Dorsai Travel, which was acquired by Skyscanner. He also spent three years at Skyscanner, where he headed up the site’s business travel division, and joins TravelPerk from online marketplace Letgo.
Commenting on McNairn’s appointment, CEO Avi Meir said: “Delivering a great experience for the traveller has always been our mission. Ultimately, that’s how we’re going to achieve our goal of revolutionising the world of business travel. Finding someone like Ross, who not only has great experience in leading product teams through hyper-growth, but also deep knowledge of business travel, is rare in this industry so we are delighted to have him join the team for the next phase of our growth. He ticks all the boxes and the team is really excited to have him on board.”
Speaking to Buying Business Travel following his appointment, McNairn said the move to the company felt right for him because he started up Dorsai Travel at roughly the same time that the co-founders of TravelPerk entered the scene. “We actually used to refer to each other’s companies in our pitches. I moved to Letgo after the Skyscanner acquisition, but I met up with Avi and one thing led to another,” he added.
Following the launch of the new FlexiPerk product, which offers clients the ability to cancel any travel booking with a guaranteed refund in exchange for a 10 per cent fee on top of the booking, McNairn has been tasked with bringing more products to market that meet TravelPerk’s aim of disrupting the business travel space.
McNairn told BBT he’s excited about some of the projects the company has in the pipeline. “TravelPerk has picked up a lot of traction since it began. They’re reporting phenomenal growth for a young company,” he said.
“A major priority for us is doubling down on making sure we have a wide range of content to offer our customers. There are a lot of conversations with suppliers happening that are opening up some fantastic inventory.”
But McNairn added that the platform’s main goal is to disrupt the business travel industry. “Travellers are fed up with the gap between the experience they get when booking their holiday and what they get when they’re organising a business trip. I believe the more we can align our breadth of content to what leisure companies are offering, the more streamlined we can make the corporate booking experience. Interestingly, we don’t actually benchmark ourselves against other business travel agencies, but instead we look at online booking sites. We want to be faster than the fastest horse in the race.”
Furthermore, McNairn said the company works with its clients to integrate the TravelPerk platform with their existing business systems, such as HR or finance software, “because this is what travellers want these days – they don’t want to have to use a different platform to book a work trip.”
McNairn was also quick to point out that TravelPerk, despite being known as a tech company, employs an in-house customer service team. “We spent a lot of time and effort to build this team because there’s nothing that will upset a traveller more than being pinged around to different outsourced departments when their flight is cancelled and they need to find a way home. And as we’re working on future product releases, we make sure the customer care team are fully trained on them so they can support clients as soon as it’s released.
“TravelPerk has been experiencing exceptional growth, and with business travel platforms receiving around US$600 million in investment in the last year, it’s clear the world is beginning to take notice of this huge, US$1.4 trillion opportunity. It’s an ideal time for me to come back to the industry, as I’ve long believed that people are frustrated with the status quo. I am excited to have an opportunity to build on TravelPerk’s amazing foundation and put the traveller back at the heart of the experience.”