What are the biggest challenges facing your business at the moment?
I'd say innovation, which is a challenge but also a tremendous opportunity. We are fortunate, as a business, to have a huge focus on technology and we invest millions of dollars to deliver a better booking experience for our customers. We are always looking for new ways to offer the best service to our customers.
How will the fall in the NZ dollar against our main tourism partners affect your operation?
We are in the fortunate position that we aren't dependant on any one particular destination - Kiwis book domestic, short-haul and long-haul holidays with us.
What's the best part of your job?
I love the fact that every day I get to work with very talented people who are passionate about enabling more people to experience the joy of travel. I have worked in the tourism industry throughout my career and feel very fortunate to really enjoy what I do. I started off working in the industry part time with an airline while I studied for a Bachelor of Commerce at Munich University. After many years gaining valuable experience in the airline industry, I joined Expedia.
What initiatives do you have under way this year?
This year we are focussing on building our loyalty programme Expedia+ in the New Zealand market. Kiwis are highly engaged with loyalty programmes and many rely on these offers to make travel more affordable.
Is the industry in good shape?
In principle. I would say yes. However, travel is a volatile industry due to the number of players involved and the fact that it can be impacted on by external events, such as natural disasters.
You're a "digital disrupter" how is your business affecting the traditional travel industry?
The global travel market is a $1.3 trillion industry and the fast-paced nature of technology means you can move from 'disrupter' to 'mainstream' very quickly. We're just getting started in terms of pioneering new advancements in the industry. We're seeing great momentum in the mobile space and monitor emerging sectors like wearables.