Leveraging Data and Innovation to Drive Loyalty in Travel

Interview with Andy Hermo, CCO at iSeatz

Andy Hermo, Chief Commercial Officer at iSeatz, discusses travel loyalty, data security, and future industry trends. Discover how iSeatz personalizes experiences to drive customer engagement.

In the fast-paced world of travel and hospitality, Andy Hermo, Chief Commercial Officer at iSeatz, stands at the forefront of innovation. With a keen eye on the transformative power of data analytics and machine learning, Hermo guides iSeatz in crafting bespoke experiences that resonate with today’s discerning travelers. This insightful interview delves into the strategies that propel iSeatz to new heights, from optimizing loyalty programs to pioneering cybersecurity measures that protect clients and end-users. Join us as we explore the future of travel and hospitality through the lens of iSeatz’s cutting-edge solutions and Hermo’s visionary leadership.

Excerpts from the interview;

How does iSeatz leverage data analytics and machine learning in its products or services?

Data-driven insights are crucial for delivering personalized experiences. iSeatz facilitates this process by leveraging real-time data, detailed reporting, and analytics, empowering loyalty providers and travel brands to make informed decisions and curate personalized customer experiences at every critical point in the buyer’s journey. 

With iSeatz’s solution, loyalty providers and brands can refine and optimize rewards programs with targeted content, unique tier-based offers, and personalized communications, maximizing member value and revenue-generating opportunities. This approach enables loyalty providers and brands to offer customer-centric programs that enhance satisfaction and loyalty, ultimately driving increased engagement and conversion rates. 

Discuss iSeatz’s approach to cybersecurity and data protection within its technological solutions.

At iSeatz, we prioritize robust cybersecurity measures to safeguard client and end-user data. Our approach involves continually evolving security practices, ensuring the protection of environments and sensitive information. A pivotal aspect of this strategy is maintaining compliance with PCI/DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards), a rigorous standard to enhance security and controls around cardholder data to combat credit card fraud. Compliance with PCI/DSS entails meeting various requirements, including establishing a secure network, implementing vulnerability management, and enforcing strong access controls across physical and virtual environments. We regularly review and assess hundreds of security measures to ensure their proper functionality and conduct frequent reviews of our security practices and posture.

While adhering to PCI standards provides a foundational framework for data security, we recognize data security goes beyond compliance. It requires ongoing efforts, such as staying informed about emerging threats through reputable sources, providing comprehensive training for all employees to maintain vigilance and adherence to secure coding practices, and fostering a culture of security awareness and accountability throughout the company.

We embrace a comprehensive and proactive approach to safeguarding data and maintaining a secure environment, recognizing that protection is everyone’s responsibility. By engaging every team member in the collective responsibility of cybersecurity, we make security a mindset for the entire team. 

As CCO of iSeatz, how do you envision the travel and hospitality industry evolving in the next 5-10 years, and how is iSeatz positioning itself to stay ahead of these changes?

Consumers have more choices than ever when booking travel, and I think we’re going to see the competition intensify for consumers’ loyalty. With increased competition, it will be critical for travel reward programs to differentiate themselves and ensure they’re providing value to their customers. At iSeatz, our platform has been purpose-built for adaptability. By leveraging an “as-a-service” model such as ours for their loyalty and travel reward platforms, clients can scale faster and manage programs more efficiently and cost-effectively while seamlessly integrating with their existing Marketing tech stack. 

By connecting these disparate systems, brands can maximize the potential of first-party customer data to drive truly personalized experiences, which lead to long-term loyalty and increased customer lifetime value. Similarly, the explosive growth of AI is further reshaping the landscape, offering opportunities for early adopters to level the playing field. Today, AI applications enable companies to materially improve their ability to differentiate and deliver greater value to clients and end customers more cost-effectively. Furthermore, companies are already exploring future AI applications and innovative business models that promise even greater benefits for clients and increased profitability. 

How do you approach cultivating innovation within iSeatz, specifically in exploring new technologies or business models?

Innovation is one of our core values. We have sophisticated technology and operations to support our clients while maintaining a startup mindset. We keep our pulse on the latest industry trends and conduct extensive research and user testing to validate those trends against the needs of our clients and their customers. Our cloud-native, API-first platform is specifically designed and built to scale seamlessly and integrate new technologies with reduced time to market. 

We also have internal programs encouraging innovation from all organizational levels and departments. The features and capabilities on our platform and those in our roadmaps are not solely the work of our Product and Engineering teams. They also originate from contributions by our Marketing, Customer Success, and Human Resources department members.

What are travel technology companies’ key challenges and opportunities, particularly in a post-pandemic world?

One of the primary challenges we’ve observed for travel rewards programs is the need to adapt and scale older, disparate systems to meet modern demand and align with consumer expectations. Travel demand has surged over the last three years, consistently surpassing pre-pandemic levels. While this uptick presents a significant opportunity for the industry, it also brings heightened competition, especially with the rapid emergence of new technologies with shorter adoption cycles. However, within these challenges lie opportunities for innovation and growth. 

Travel technology companies can capitalize on the accelerated digital transformation within the industry, leveraging technologies like artificial intelligence and data analytics to enhance personalization and customer experiences. These companies should also consider accessibility and inclusivity; by developing accessible travel solutions and inclusive experiences, companies can tap into a market segment that is often underserved, creating new revenue streams while promoting diversity and inclusion within the industry.

Furthermore, sustainability and environmental responsibility should be key considerations for travel technology companies. Meeting the growing demand for eco-friendly travel accommodations aligns with consumer preferences and contributes to a more sustainable future for the industry. 

While the road ahead may be challenging, travel technology companies can emerge stronger and more resilient by embracing innovation and addressing the evolving needs of travelers in a post-pandemic world.

How does iSeatz distinguish itself from competitors in terms of technology innovation and customer experience?

Our technology powers loyalty programs for leading travel, financial services, and hospitality brands. While our cloud-native platform provides an end-to-end travel loyalty solution designed for increased agility, efficiency, and resilience, what truly sets us apart is our unwavering dedication to understanding our client’s needs. Our customer-centric approach is the cornerstone of our success. From the design of our platform to our ongoing innovation and technology development, our clients and their customers are at the heart of everything we do. 

By prioritizing their requirements, we empower our clients to deliver exceptional, interconnected customer experiences that drive brand loyalty with speed, security, and scalability.