A month into his new job as Sales Director for LATAM and the US, ex-Skyscanner senior commercial manager, Jhon Ruiz, discusses his new role. We caught up with him in his new office in Miami.
Why did you leave such a successful company to join one that isn’t well known in the US?
In Kiwi.com, I saw high levels of passion and energy, a company with massive potential, and with a proven growth trajectory. It has already pioneered new products and solutions for the industry and travellers, such as its exclusive Virtual Interlining itineraries. I am delighted with the company and love the opportunity to support its continued growth in the Americas. All my prior experience is coming together to help me succeed in this new and challenging role and together with Kiwi.com continue bringing significant value to the industry.
So what’s the culture and vision at Kiwi.com?
Kiwi.com is a fast, agile and user-centred company. Somehow it feels like the early days of Skyscanner: a bunch of innovative, curious people looking to solve issues in the travel industry for the benefit of the traveller. At Kiwi.com, there is a real vision not to be tied to legacy systems but to give travellers information directly. We want to put the tools in the hands of individuals, and empower them to select exactly what works best for them.
The premise that one size fits all is just no longer viable and Kiwi.com’s products acknowledge this. For example, NOMAD — our newest, revolutionary tool — helps the traveller to plan and find the cheapest possible route for multi-city trips. It is an efficient and smart way to resolve the problem for travellers worldwide.
How does Kiwi.com differentiate itself from the many other travel technology companies?
In my view, what makes Kiwi.com unique is our drive and capability of thinking — and executing — outside the box. We are continuously bringing disruptive innovations and growing quickly. We have found that there is a large and growing demand for our exclusive products. Thankfully, if you build great technology, it’s much easier to scale quickly, and design great experiences for our partners and direct online customers. When I was over at Kiwi.com HQ, it was pretty impressive seeing over 400 developers working around the clock to come up with those innovations. They, in turn, are backed-up by a global network of travel professionals, who support and challenge each other in a very dynamic ecosystem.
Tell us about your LATAM / US hub office
Miami is a great hub in which to base our new office, and as we grow will allow us to travel freely across the region.
The office is in the Brickell area of Miami, in a modern building. Miami is the choice of many global technology companies as a base for their hub office for expansion into the Americas due to its connectivity, multicultural population, and growing tech community. As we grow, it will enable us to attract top talent and achieve our goals. Geographically, Miami sits almost at the centre of the Americas, which will also facilitate our reach to the Latin American region.
We are just about to launch an innovative suite of solutions that are going to benefit all travel companies, regardless of their size. This is an exciting development and one that we will be talking more about in the very near future.
For now, I’m delighted to join a company with four-digit annual growth and group of colleagues numbering over 2,000 spread all around the world.