Yeah, we are currently around 30 in the product and engineering team at TourRadar and we are organized in what we call pillars. So, TourRadar went through various iterations throughout time to find out how we could organize ourselves – I think that's a challenge most companies face at one point or another. We went to the Spotify model of tribes and squads. Obviously in the beginning we were just a whole bunch of people doing everything – pure startup style! – but now we are mainly organized in those pillars.
Pillars reflect the various types of customers the company has. So, obviously we are a marketplace, but we also have tour operators that are also our customers.
We are organized into five different pillars, which will each have an engineering lead, there will obviously be software engineers, it will have QA-resources, it will have designers, they all will work more or less independently, but always with the focus on the customer.
So, it's one of the core values of the company to focus on the customer. We have multiple types of customers. So, we divided the structure into a more simple way without too much hierarchy. Just with the focus on the specific customers that we are serving in the market.
One of the really cool and special things about our team is that it's a very diverse team and multicultural team. I think the last time I checked we had over 40 nationalities working for the company. Which is absolutely amazing! It creates a really good company culture – if there is one thing I believe our people that work or have worked for TourRadar, is that they are extremely proud of the company culture and the care that is taken in making sure that we get the right people. And we organize and structure the company in a way that is good – not only to serve our customers – but also to help our employees and staff members to grow as well.
At the end of the day we work in the travel industry, so if anything, we need to reflect that travel ethos and that multiculturalism and that ability to grow within the way the company operates as well!
In terms of recruiting we have been doing this – like it or not – for quite a while, we have recruited a lot of people throughout the years. And one of the core and most important things for us – in terms of recruiting – is cultural fit. So, the recruitment process starts with the actual team that will be recruiting for the positions – specifically on technical positions. And funnily enough, 80% of our candidates that get past all the technical interviews, they might get knocked out on the cultural fit interview which is the last one.
So, one of the things we obviously look for from a candidate-perspective is people that like to travel, first and foremost, that are really eager to learn new things and are willing to adapt. This, in terms of a process, it starts from the team that is hiring. So, if we are hiring for a particular team, that team holds the responsibility for the hiring.
Obviously we have a people department that handles all the administrative jobs of posting and putting together job descriptions, but it's important to understand that I think unlike other companies the recruitment is driven by the team. Recruitment is obviously one part of this entire flow. The other part is the onboarding and this is also an area that we invested in quite significantly, in terms of making sure we have a very well structure and a very good onboarding flow. So every new starter will have an onboarding buddy, they will have a task list, they will have a number of checklists and they will have – most importantly – someone that will walk them through it all.
We are firm believers that learning by doing is the way to go. So, from an engineering perspective we've facilitated the onboarding in such a way that we want the engineers to be able to do their first request within their first week in the company. Everything is optimized in the sense that they will be able to set up their development environments, all the accounts will be ready so they can really learn by doing and try to be effective in the first week in the company. There's none of this "it's going to take a month to set up my environment. It's going to take 3 months for me to get the right credentials." I think we've done this enough to be able to be in a good position to also make sure that the new starters are well received in the company, and they can basically get integrated as fast as possible.
TourRadar is in essence a travel technology startup. This is what we do, we are an e-commerce provider. But not only that, we also provide tools for tour operators, now we have new distribution capabilities that we are providing tools for travel agents. But it's important to understand that since the beginning and since its inception, TourRadar has been at the forefront of travel technology. And, from an e-commerce technology perspective, we are also on the forefront of e-commerce sites, when it comes to performance.
We can categorically say that TourRadar is THE fastest travel website. And it's one of the fastest e-commerce websites, full stop. That's it.
Needless to say, it's extremely challenging to maintain that level of performance while serving a number of diverse customers. So for us, innovation is our biggest challenge. We need to be at the forefront, we need to be always innovating. TourRadar is also a cloud-only company. We don't have our own data centers, we don't have any servers whatsoever. We are 100% cloud-based, which gives a lot of opportunities for the engineers and for the various teams that work in the company in terms of the technology that they have access to, in order to fulfill and to solve the problems that our various customers have.
So, I think there are obviously a number of technical challenges that we are proud of having solved already, there are a number of challenges that we are still solving, and there will be a number of challenges that will come ahead as technology progresses. We're currently at the forefront and the idea is for us to continue to be at the forefront of what travel technology is, and to bring the entire industry to a much better level in terms of technology.
I think one can say travel is – especially our area of multi-day travel – still very based on offline transactions. There's not a lot of optimization, but there's an enormous opportunity for us to use technology as a tool to serve our customers better. All of them: operators, travelers and also travel agents.