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One on one: Bill Kerby

Monaker Group Inc.’s chairman and CEO talks about his career in the travel industry

 

Q: What’s a typical day at work like for you?

More often than not, it consists of implementing our technology programs so we might better service our customers, agents and partners through our tour division. Maupintour and our Alternative Lodging Rentals (ALR) division, through our newly launched NextTrip website, allow for instantly bookable vacation rental properties.

Q: How does the rest of the company operate?

The company is evenly split between customer service and technology development teams. They serve very different functions but strive to meet the same objective of making the customer’s search for their ‘vacation of a lifetime’ more achievable.

Q: What’s new for your organization?

Our real-time booking engine for Vacation Home/Lodging Rentals not only allows for instant confirmation of vacation rental properties (no more waiting for a homeowner to respond) but also allows for a global search of over 1.2 million vacation homes, condos, apartments, ski chalets, villas, hotels and even castles.

Q: How important are travel agents to your business?

Very important. Our platform allows agents to search tours and properties on behalf of their customer and earn commissions for these highly sought after products. ALR is the fastest-growing segment of the travel industry and now accounts for roughly one out of five transactions with vacationers. It’s not only the tremendous selection and instant booking capabilities that are important to agents — we also maintain pricing parity while paying commissions to the travel professionals. Furthermore, agents are allowed to add an additional ‘user fee’ if they believe it’s warranted when assisting customers.

Q: What are your major objectives?

Our goals may be lofty but if you don’t set the bar high, you never know what you’re capable of achieving. Our mission is to become the largest supplier of ALR products to the travel industry by means of our B2B platform. That’s why we’ve developed a unique booking platform that aims to take the needs of travel professionals into account.

Q: What attracted you to the travel industry?

The travel industry is unlike any other I’ve been involved with. It really gets in your blood. Travel is very experiential; it broadens your horizons and expands your knowledge base with every new country and culture you experience. Vacationing is also a means of allowing you to relax, recharge and connect with family. For me, one of the greatest benefits of vacations is that it allows me to get centered and ultimately makes me even more productive.

Q: What kind of vacations do you enjoy?

Like so many of us in the travel industry, it seems we never get enough time to partake in our wonderful products. I have my favorite spots around the world, including Hawaii and South Africa, but there’s so much of the world I’ve not yet experienced. My bucket list includes many parts of Europe, Asia and South America.

Q: What advice would you give anyone wanting to get into the travel industry?

I would highly recommend it. Every time you see someone who’s won the lottery, the first question is, “What do you plan to do now?” Inevitably, the answer is travel. What a great sector to be involved in!

Q: What makes you feel hopeful about the travel industry going forward?

With travel playing such a major role in all of our lives, I believe the future is very bright. I’ve noticed quite a few recent studies showing that millennials are returning to travel agents as they discover things aren’t always as they seem on the internet. There’s just no substitute for the human experience.

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