Bespoke long-distance travel with just a few clicks
In March, 2018, Gregor Waser of Travelnews.ch visited Nezasa to hear about our mission. Read below what he thought of it.
By Gregor Waser
Zurich-based software company Nezasa has created the complete solution for providers of flexible travel components - and can count on a new, prominent customer.
Founded in 2012, the motto of the start-up company Nezasa since 2014 has been immodest: "We want to revolutionise the traditional way of booking travel with a new technology." But where does Nezasa stand today?
Travelnews.ch visited the Zurich start-up in the offices on Sihlquai. 20 employees use every corner, even a standing table in the corridor. In the next few weeks, they will move to new, larger premises on Zurich's Sihlporte.
Asked about Nezasa's starting position, CEO Manuel Hilty says: "If you're looking for a beach holiday package for the Mediterranean, with flight, transfer and hotel, then the problem is solved today. This can be called up and booked in an instant on the Internet." But it looks different for individual long-haul trips: "If someone plans a trip to Vietnam and wants to visit three or four places, you can do it online - but that's tedious. Or a rental car round trip in the USA: if you want to book this alone, you will soon reach your limits. Because if I notice that I want to stay three instead of two nights at the second stage place now, the whole booked travel plan falls apart. Every hotel booking at the back must be changed or cancelled. This is the problem we have set out to tackle."
Nezasa manages the dependency of all individual products in an entire travel plan
Simplifying tour operating is what Nezasa means. Hilty says: "As soon as it goes beyond booking individual components, the travel industry has so far been extremely undersupplied. Our technology now takes over these processes." This was the focus of Nezasa's software development, which is based on a highly scalable, cloud-based SaaS solution - SaaS or "Software as a Service" means that the user does not have to worry about hosting, data security or updates.
But, who are the customers? "We're all about tour operating. Whether destination management company, tour operator, micro tour operator or travel agency - our solution is interesting for anyone who puts together tourist components into a travel program," explains the 42-year-old, who worked for a software development company before founding Nezasa and later founded the consulting firm Acrea, from which Nezasa emerged. Today Manuel Hilty and his co-founders Patrick Hammer and Andreas Fürer can count on a team of 20 people, mostly IT engineers. The Board of Directors includes former Kuoni Chief Financial Officer and current SRV president Max E. Katz.
"What our technology mainly does is to manage the dependency of all the individual products in an entire itinerary - during planning, when we check what fits together, how to add it," Hilty explains, "and then also during and after booking. Maybe we need to book a flight or an excursion, we have to make sure what happens if one of the 15 hotels is still on request, et cetera." Managing all these dependencies until after booking is the core of what Nezasa does.
Nezasa wants to make inefficient processes in tour operating forgotten with a high degree of automation.
What happens today between service providers and end customers, how often there is a media break, the large number of emails and telephone calls that go back and forth is enormous - the error rate is correspondingly high. Nezasa has set itself the goal of automating this process and is already well advanced.
"We can automate all processes to a high degree. Not only will it be easier for the customer, but the tour operator can also benefit from fully automatic processing, which has a cost advantage for him," says Hilty. He also points out that, in an environment characterised by price parity, a travel operator today must be distinguished above all by a high level of service.
Switzerland Travel Centre (STC) relies on Nezasa for the first time
A click on the Nezasa customer list shows that many players already rely on the promising technology, such as the FTI Group, Viamonda, Windrose, Pure Africa Experiences or Latin America Tours, whose founder Reto Rüfenacht recently spoke about the possible uses of the tool.
And Switzerland Travel Centre (STC) is now also relying on Nezasa technology. The subsidiary of SBB, Switzerland Tourism and Hotellerie Suisse sells Switzerland as a tourist destination with all its components throughout the world.
Hilty has just returned from ITB Berlin, where he often visited the Amadeus stand: because Nezasa is now supporting the Amadeus subsidiary Traveltainment in order to optimize the search for round trips, which can be found in the travel agency software Bistro
Now, after four years of development, Nezasa seems ready to deliver the technology to numerous players. In 2018, the travel industry is likely to hear a lot more from the young software player. The approach of organising an individual long-haul trip with just a few clicks is very promising and has already proven itself in practice.