MartechAsia speaks with Ray Frederick, CTO, Traveloka, about how the company supports its marketing efforts with technology.
Tell us a little bit about yourself. How and when did you join Traveloka? How big is your team that you manage?
My name is Ray Frederick, and I am currently the Group CTO of Traveloka. Prior to that, I spent about 15 years of my career with a number of banks in Singapore and Hong Kong, and before that, a few startups in the late 90s and early 2000s.
I joined Traveloka in early 2020 as the CTO of Traveloka Accommodation. At that time, Traveloka Accommodation was looking for a CTO, and after several conversations between the Traveloka leadership team and me, we mutually felt there was a great match. At the moment, the Traveloka Technology team has almost 1,000 members, and we’re aiming to grow this by another 30% in 2022.
What problems did you encounter as a CTO, building and developing Traveloka in the initial days?
Since I joined Traveloka, I could sense that we have a strong culture of problem solving. One of the next best things that I can share is, the challenges we encountered in building and developing Traveloka Eats Delivery in the beginning.
While food delivery is simple from the perspective of the user, it is a very deep and complex domain underneath. Developing the Tech stack to take care of the complexity, while scaling up by orders of magnitude together with the business, has been a very interesting and enriching challenge for the team.
What tech challenges did you face during the pandemic as a CTO? How did you resolve those issues?
Being a digital native business born in the cloud, we had it relatively easier compared to other organisations. When everybody started working from home back in early 2020, the transition was by and large quite smooth. In fact, we found that fully online meetings tended to be smoother than hybrid meetings, where some participants were online and some were onsite. In response to this, we have continued to invest in devices and technology that smoothens this experience.
Another challenge we faced was actually taking care of the well-being of our team members. Not only the pandemic impacted individuals through prolonged isolation it also affected how we onboarded our new joiners. The usual onboarding process where new joiners would sit with their team and be assigned buddies did not work as well and as quickly in a fully remote situation. Even though we have “software delivery performance metrics”, the human aspect of this pandemic is the one that has been the most challenging, as all of us are probably experiencing as well.
How do you support your marketing team with technology?
Marketing is a very Technology-driven domain and we support our Marketing team in many ways. These include performing A/B testing on campaigns which allow us to make informed marketing decisions, developing actionable marketing performance metrics to help our team in optimising channels and campaigns as well as conducting modeling to improve our targeting abilities and optimizing marketing spend.
How did the technology help Traveloka scale and reach customers in markets outside Indonesia?
Southeast Asia is widely known as one of the fastest growing regions. Definitely it’s an important market for growing our presence. Each market has different challenges and each user base has different preferences and needs. Technology helped tremendously in building products that we can iteratively refine quickly and sustainably. Technology is also an important enabler for our business.
We have built a suite of innovative products and services using our strong technical and data analytics capabilities to provide one of the most comprehensive, seamless, and personalized user experiences in the industry.
What is the technology roadmap for Traveloka going forward?
As Traveloka continues to develop our lifestyle offerings, our technology needs to evolve with the offerings as well, not only in scale, but also different usage patterns, business models, and product iteration velocity. The focus of our roadmap therefore, is to optimize for sustainable engineering velocity, and guided evolution of our product, platform, and data architecture.
If you have to change one major thing at Traveloka, what would that be?
Traveloka’s DNA has brought us to where we are today, and the same DNA will bring us forward into the future. It is one of our greatest strengths, and I do not think I would change any of it.