We are excited to welcome Julien Coste on board as our new Head of Commercial.
Julien joins Rome2rio’s leadership team and brings deep industry experience from working with travel partners across the globe.
A seasoned traveller, Julien brings a wealth of knowledge following a successful career at Tripadvisor spanning nearly 8 years. We are particularly excited to have Julien join us with his commercial expertise to unlock new partnerships and opportunities to help us in the next stage of growth at Rome2rio.
It’s been just over a month since Julien stepped into his new role and I sat down with him to see how his transition is going and what his thoughts are about the future of Rome2rio.
Q: How did you hear about Rome2rio?
I actually first heard about Rome2rio during my time at Tripadvisor while working with our partner Viator. Through that partnership I became aware of Rome2rio which I knew existed as a platform for transport.
Q: What inspired your move to Rome2rio?
On my first real deep dive on Rome2rio I was really impressed by what it could offer and the potential in the immediate of what it could be. What I found most wonderful about the product was it’s simplicity. What I found most opportunistic about the product was the scope and the opportunity of growth that I thought was there. All of these factors played a large role when it came to moving to Rome2rio.
Q: What are you going to be focusing on as Head of Commercial?
Some of the products we have implemented have been optimised really well so there’s not much scope for them to grow. Having said that, the next steps for me will be to look at how we can actually implement a whole new layer of thinking towards an expansion of what Rome2rio would look like from a user perspective, as well as what Rome2rio can offer those users from a client or product perspective.
Q: What do you see as Rome2rio’s biggest opportunities?
I think the most obvious opportunity for Rome2rio is its current presence and its SEO drive in the market. With 20 million views a month that’s a really substantial number and a great place to be as a starting point. There are only a few companies in the travel industry that can boast that number or a number higher. Although those 20 million users are happy with what we’ve got, we can offer them a whole lot more. So my focus will be about helping implement a better user experience that doesn’t just look at getting users from A to B but also how we can provide additional value within the key areas of travel and transportation.
Q: Starting a new job can be difficult, let alone starting a new job while working from home. How have you found this transition and how has your first month at the business been?
On the front of working from home, it’s a little sad. I haven’t had the opportunity to personally meet the team and the people that I’m working so closely with. Having said that, the team at Rome2rio have been very welcoming. I’ve had the opportunity to communicate very closely and develop relationships even within this four week period. I also feel like there’s a large motivational drive behind everybody that I’ve spoken to within the company so far. There haven’t been many situations in the past where I’ve entered a company and within four weeks I can feel an overall sense of desire to achieve, with a result driven focus.
Q: Being an avid traveller, which country do you plan to visit first when international travel resumes again in Australia?
I have a hankering to return to France where I spent a lot of time as a child and as an adult. In fact, I lived there for six years so I have a real desire to get back there. Having said that, I’m torn between that and doing some discovery travel. It’s been so long since I’ve been on a plane or discovered anything new that I feel like I almost need to justify my next trip with something more adventurous. Antarctica has been a longtime favorite on my list of things to do so I would say at this time it is a toss up between the old favorite France and Antarctica.
Q: Have you taken up any new hobbies or skills to pass the time during these recent lockdowns?
A lot of new skills with my little four year old daughter. Skills to keep her occupied and entertained which haven’t always gone to plan but have provided fun experiences none the less. Other hobbies I guess are learning to exercise in other ways which don’t involve a gym. So I wouldn’t necessarily call them hobbies because I don’t love it, but definitely skills that I have adopted or re-adapted to during these most recent lockdowns.