News | OnlineFornova says its visual scanning tech can help hotels boost direct bookingsThis article was originally published onBy Juliana Shallcross | May 2, 2016 Many hotel brands say they want to wean themselves off of their dependence on online travel agencies (OTAs) by prioritizing direct bookings.Fornova, a 70-employee market intelligence and distribution company, thinks it is poised to benefit from this shift with its data-crunching software, called Supernova.The platform is to built to help hotels increase transactions via their "brand.com" websites by optimizing retargeting and prospecting display campaigns, metasearch bidding, email marketing, and search engine marketing.Pivoting to travelFornova was founded six years ago in Israel by former Intel executives, who applied their knowledge of chip-image analysis to website-data analysis.Dori Stein, CEO of Fornova, told Tnooz that structured web data can be understood “visually” in the same way that a human understands the structure of web pages.“This visual understanding allows us to automatically collect billions of data points without human intervention,” he said.Fornova didn't start out with a focus on travel. At first, it used its platform for big consumer brands such as Nike, Gucci, Nordstrom, and IKEA.But it recently pivoted to focus on travel, and its employees have been focusing on the hospitality sector. Stein said, "Hotels need to get a handle on how they are doing in the marketplace relative to the channels and competitors, learning how their rooms are priced and how they are ranked or positioned."An "end-to-end" toolThe company thinks it can stand out from other hotel tech competitors by offer a full-service, end-to-end solution, while others only offer hotels answers to pieces of the puzzle.Stein said company's software can help, “starting from rate integrity, through competitive pricing and ranking, all the way to growing direct bookings through an innovative direct marketing channel management solution.”The Supernova platform aims to give hotels real-time data for validating rates. After it collects market intelligence for analysis, it creates demand-based marketing campaigns.Regarding personalizing offers for guests, which is another priority for hotels looking to beef up their direct bookings, the Supernova tool offers messaging at the property-level, along with selling propositions and promotions.The tool also enables a hotel to display different content and rates for business and leisure travelers, based on each traveler's profile.The company received an initial investment from angel investors and JAL Ventures, an Israeli VC firm.Stein said the company has grown tremendously over the past two years, largely due to the hotel customers. Today it has offices in New York, London, Amsterdam, and Israel. Fornova plans on raising new funding in the next couple of months.That new investment will be applied to the product rollout and sales and customer success operations in Fornova’s current US and European locations, with the hopes of opening offices in Asia-Pacific.