TLabs Showcase on travel startups featuring France-based hotel mobile application booking engine BookingBrick.
Who and what are you (including personal and backgrounds)?
BookingBrick provides iPhone and Android-hosted travel organisations with a solution for implementing easily a white-label hotel booking process directly inside their application and start monetising it.
Today, a lot of mobile applications are already offering hotel content - such as address, phone numbers, reviews, etc - but still do not generate revenue from it. That is the case for travel guides, local search, navigation, GPS or tourism boards apps.
With BookingBrick, these organisations will no longer lose potential hotel customers, as users will be able to book a room directly through their application. Obviously, owners earn a commission for each reservation made through their app.
BookingBrick is a French-based company which was co-funded by Nicolas Salin and Sébastien Houzé, after winning a Startup contest called StartupWeekend in December 2010.
Both founders are not new to the mobile booking sector, as they previously released an hotel booking app for iPhone called Hotel! which reached nearly 100,000 downloads.
What financial support did you have to launch the business?
From the beginning, BookingBrick has been fully financed by its founders. But winning the StartupWeekend competition in Marseille naturally brought us press coverage and interests from several investors. We are now preparing our first round of funding to support our growth and develop new products.
What problem are you trying to solve?
Today, if you wish to create a great mobile booking experience based on an OTA’s white-label affiliate program it will cost you a lot of time and thousands of dollars to do it properly.
In the end, only big companies have those resources. The small and medium-sized owners cannot afford such an investment for an unknown ROI. BookingBrick fills this gap by providing a simple, fast and cost-effective solution to implement a fully customizable hotel booking system directly inside their application.
So, every hotel mobile application owner can start generating additional revenues while staying focused on their core business.
Describe the business, core products and services?
Let’s say that we are clearly focused on what we call "the long tail of mobile booking".
From the small tourism board application with 10,000 downloads to the biggest local-search apps counting millions of users, we can help them:
- Monetize hotel content by embedding our booking process in their app.
- Collect certified hotel reviews from customers - we’ve created a solution that tracks customers from the initial booking to the review. This way, our affiliates will only collect reviews from people that really slept in the hotels.
BookingBrick’s main features:
Who are your key customers and users at launch?
- More than 100 000 hotels worldwide
- Easy to setup (1 hour)
- High-level commissions
- In-app booking process: we provide a development kit (SDK) to editors that incredibly speed up the implementation of our solution
- Certified reviews collecting system
- Fully customizable (white-label)
- Secured payment and data encryption
- Multi-platform (iPhone iOS/Android)
Mobile apps like travel guides, local search, navigation or tourism board apps that want to generates new revenues by monetizing hotel content.
Did you have customers validate your idea before investors?
Yes, of course. Since we have been involved in the mobile and hotel business for nearly two years, we already had concept validation from several companies including some very famous ones. But, we’ll stay quiet on this!
What is the business AND revenue model, strategy for profitability?
BookingBrick is available for free. No setup fees.
We practice a shared commission model, with an incentive based on performance. The more our affiliates will promote the booking service inside their app, the more commissions they’ll get, the higher their commission level will be.
SWOT analysis – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?
- A strong team fully focused on mobile hotel booking.
- BookingBrick is not available on BlackBerry yet! ... C’est la vie !
- Reach a large audience by focusing on the long tail of hotel booking on smartphones.
Who advised you your idea isn’t going to be successful and why didn’t you listen to them?
- Hard competition in the travel industry and economic downturn which directly affects the hospitality industry.
Nobody. They just said: "Be in the market as soon as possible". We’ve just opened our beta subscriptions! So stay tuned, the official launch is planned for the following weeks.
What is your success metric 12 months from now?
We target to reach an audience of five millions users in the next 12 months, through the implementation of BookingBrick in several successful apps, plus dozens of other small services.
NB: TLabs Showcase is part of the wider TLabs project from Tnooz.