The pandemic severely impacted travel and tourism globally which also affected the travel technology company Fareportal in a significant way. People Matters caught up with the people and culture head Rajat Bhatia to find out how global travel-tech companies are navigating all this uncertainty and the approach for the company to drive success in the post-pandemic era.
Rajat is the head of people and culture for India and International locations and a member of the Board for Fareportal. He has been at the core of India business strategy for Fareportal and managing end-to-end people functions for over five years. Rajat has worked for brands including Matsushita, GE, Wipro, and TP/Serco over the last 23 years of his corporate career, managing various roles.
Here are the edited excerpts.
How has Covid disrupted the travel and hospitality sector? How are global travel-tech companies navigating all this uncertainty today?
Travel and hospitality across the globe was significantly impacted, especially the airline industry, which also affected Fareportal in a significant way. The key differentiator for companies will be innovative products and technology, driving strong customer retention and loyalty programs, which is the focus for Fareportal to be the preferred OTA for customers.
How are next-gen technologies and innovative tools reshaping business operations? What has changed over the past two years of disruption?
The key differentiator for any organisation in the current environment will be innovation and technology. The past two years have changed the way how and what customers expect from organisations and hence the need to drive more efficient business operations, using innovative tools and technologies.
The handbook for this new era of business doesn’t exist and everyone is drafting their own as they go along. What is the new path and approach for Fareportal to drive success in the post-pandemic era?
Fareportal is focused on driving significant growth and expansion over the next few years. The approach will be personalization, assisted buying and flexible options at a good price for our customers, driving customer loyalty and retention and introducing innovative products and technologies
How are organisations recalibrating their policies around hybrid work, flexibility, employee well-being? What questions should leaders ask to reinvent their organisations from a policy perspective?
Fareportal is focused very highly on employee centricity and well-being. Considering the recent past, we continue to provide flexible work options and hybrid work model to our employees. We continue to invest significantly on comfortable work environment (from home or office) and on various developmental programs for our employees. The key questions to reinventing hybrid work policies should be around building company culture, employee loyalty, information security, and employee health and safety.
How are you leveraging HR and work tech to address post-pandemic work challenges, including hybrid work, deskless workers, as well as for meeting employee aspirations?
We are using various technology tools, in order to drive better engagement, running global town halls with employees via video conferencing, and using learning tools for developmental training. Various aspects of remote monitoring ensure a high level of data security and control. We are using engagement tools and learning management systems to run various developmental training and engagement activities. We have self-learning courses aligned with business strategy and goals. ROI is based on both coverage and impact on the business. We are exploring a more integrated HR management system at a global level to consolidate various tools and also build more flexibility around the hybrid work arrangement.
How has your talent management mantra evolved over time? How do you map employee aspirations?
The fundamental goal of talent management for Fareportal over the past two years has been to ensure strong connect and interaction with and amongst our employees, drive strong engagement and well-being for our employees and ensure we provide a comfortable and conducive work environment in the remote and hybrid operating model. We continue to drive various programmes around employee development and growth.