meet Ahmed Elasra: Senior Product Owner at Travelport Digital

In Insider

What is it like to work at Travelport Digital?

Amazing! It’s a really good place to work, I really like how the people work together, I like the mindsets, the personalities and I love travel. One of the best things about Travelport Digital for me is that it’s not a start-up and it’s not a corporate, it’s somewhere in between. In previous roles, working for multinationals I have found it to be quite boring, you are responsible for a small piece of work yet in a startup you are responsible for everything - at Travelport Digital they have the balance just right; combining the professionalism of a multi-national with the innovation that a startup gives you.

What do you do in Travelport Digital?

I’m a senior product owner which means that I own and build the product roadmap in line with the customer’s digital strategy; prioritizing features and understanding the business value that each feature will bring. In short I always have an answer as to what we should be building next!

I am also the bridge between the technical people and the customer, in my role you have to be able to talk the same language as everyone, understand and satisfy the customer needs and translate that into a language that the developers, designers and QA understand. I am the middle man that talks to everyone and makes sure that things happen the way they are expected to, and beyond.

I’ve found that in my role working on various projects that I am continually drawing from my experiences, allowing me to bring a more consultative approach both internally and externally which has helped me really grow in my role.

What advice would you have for anyone that is interested in working on your team?

I would say to them to take the time to learn, to get up to speed and get into the Travelport Digital way. If you don’t have a travel background getting used to the travel industry is hugely important - learning the terminologies, what products we are building etc.

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What is the favourite part of your job?

I love that I get to talk to so many people across departments and that I am able to give advice, be heard and be trusted. People on the business side know that you are close to the tech side and visa versa so you become the main conduit between the teams.

What is the best project you have ever worked on?

My current project is one of the best projects I’m working on, we are playing a major role in the direction the company is going in; we’re transforming the company to make it a more product driven organisation.

What are you most proud of achieving in Travelport Digital?

My most proud achievement has to be being asked to work on the project I am currently working on. I have built up great experience and trust amongst my colleagues that they have now placed their trust in me to take on a new project that is the turning point in the way that Travelport Digital is going about their product development.

Describe your typical day in Travelport Digital

I start the day by looking at my diary to see what lays ahead for me. We have our daily morning stand up and then things take a change! I like the fact that I don’t have a routine every day, I’m not stuck doing the same thing every day which means my job is never boring!

The rest of my day entails a lot of meetings - meetings with customers, answering questions for developers and designers and managing dependencies.

What do you like to do outside of work?

I love to travel and play music - I play the piano, I’m not a pro but I love it. Other than that I’m just a typical family guy, I have 2 kids, a son who is 8 and a daughter who is 6. I moved over to Ireland from Egypt when I moved to Travelport Digital, my daughter has only been here a year but she is already speaking with a native accent and is flying it!!

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What was life like pre Travelport Digital?

I studied computer engineering in Egypt and went on to work in telecommunications with Orange for 7 years, where I worked in a variety of roles. After the revolution in Egypt in 2011 I decided to start up my own company, a digital loyalty platform for retailers based in Egypt and the Middle East. It was when I ran my company that I got into the product management side of things.  It went well for a few years but in 2014 I decided to shut it down due to market conditions and I made the decision to leave Egypt.

I then had the opportunity to relocate to Ireland with Travelport Digital, I had experience both working in a multinational and a startup environment so I knew it was the right move for me and I haven't regretted it since. Travelport Digital really made relocating myself and my family so easy, unfortunately they couldn’t help with the weather though!

How different is Travelport Digital to any other company you have worked for?

We have a saying in Travelport Digital that you learn something new every day and that is very true! However for me Travelport Digital is so different and the main reason for that is the people - they are unique, their mindset is unique and working with them makes you feel like your experience is being uplifted on a daily basis. I love the way Travelport Digital is somewhere between a startup and a corporate, it is being able to do what I do best and what I love in a brilliant environment, it’s amazing!

I also love the fact that because we work in travel you can see how many people’s lives are impacted and made easier, it gives you a real sense of achievement, seeing how someone's airline app is making their travel experience better.

What do you see as the next big trend in travel?

I believe the next big thing is going to be personalisation and big data. Hotels, airlines, travel management companies will be using data to personalise their offering to the consumer based on their behaviour, demographics etc.

What is the favourite place you have been?

Would you believe that 3 years ago I didn't even have a passport!! I think the best place I have been to is America. It has great meaning for me as my family who are geographically spread quite far - my parents are in Egypt, my brother is in Dubai and I’m in Ireland, so when my brother got married to his Egyptian/American wife, they had the wedding in the States. It was the first time we all as a family meet in a country (in fact in a continent) that none of us actually live in, so I got to spend time with all my family together in a brand new place, it was an amazing holiday.

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Describe Travelport Digital in 3 words

Different
Fast
People