Neeraj Gera, the President of TBO Tek Limited (TBO), a global travel distribution platform which has now fully acquired Bookabed was in Dublin earlier this month. Whilst on his trip to Ireland, he met members of the travel trade over an intimate dinner and also promised to give ITTN a greater insight into TBO’s plans ahead. In this interview, he lets us know what the coming months hold for Bookabed, TBO, as well as a window into his career and journey so far.
To begin with, congratulations on the new addition to TBO. BookaBed has been a market leader here for years, and is backed by a well-established and respected team. What can the trade expect TBO to add to this award-winning company?
Its so heartening to hear this about Bookabed from the trade, and the customers I have had the opportunity to interact with over the last couple of days. Karl Tyrell (CEO, Bookabed) and team have built a strong franchise and we expect Bookabed to retain all that they have build and augment it with the wider deeper global inventory that TBO brings to the table.
What appeals to you the most about the Irish market?
Irish people love to travel!
For a country with 5 million population, the Dublin airport sees a 30 million footfall in a year.
How has your first introduction to the trade here been like?
My first visit to Ireland and interaction with the trade was in later part of 2020. I would quote what a customer mentioned recently. “Irish people love to do business with personalities and it matters who they deal with”. This aligns very nicely with TBO’s philosophy of being local with respect to service and support and builds off the strong franchise of Bookabed.
Do you see expansion or growth with TBO/Bookabed in the coming months and years ahead?
Thanks for this one. We continue to expand our global footprint staying true to our commitment to simplifying global travel. The synergies between both organisations have been clear from the outset and the partnership allows us to bring added value to our customers and suppliers. Karl has done a stellar job leading the business with exceptional performance this year and will lead the growth charter for us in UK and Ireland.
You are an alumnus of the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi, and also hold a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA). If you could tell us a little bit about your career highlights, transition to the travel trade and what you consider to be your career highs and successes.
My journey has been three phases. I did some job hopping in early years of my career, so changed four jobs in first three years from software development to core banking to a Dotcom start-up to an eServices company.
I found home in GE (General Electric) Capital and then had a 17 year stint there across a multitude of roles in India and abroad.
I am now in my third stint of being part of TBO’s journey of building the world’s largest travel distribution company. Its been a fun ride so far (including the Covid times) and look forward to more.
If you were to describe travel in a line – what would that be?
Travel is the best teacher. It expands your horizon, keeps you humble and is fun.
Do you have a favourite holiday destination?
Perhaps it’s the recency factor, I loved Maldives (my last one!!)