ImpulseFlyer eyes growing Asia-Pacific affluence with luxury private sale serviceNews / OnlineBy Kevin May | April 12, 2012Share This article was originally published on TLabs Showcase on travel startups featuring Singapore-based ImpulseFlyer, a private sale service for Asia-Pacific travellers looking for luxury and boutique trips.Who and what are you (including personnel and backgrounds)?Steven Gong is the CEO at ImpulseFlyer, a luxury and boutique hotel private sale site for affluent Asia-Pacific consumers. He founded the company in 2011 upon recognizing a need for an online travel brand to cater specifically for the affluent market in the region. Prior to launching ImpulseFlyer, Steven worked at two travel startup companies in Singapore - metasearchservice Wego and Circos Brand Karma, a social media analytics and consulting firm for hospitality brands. Before working on startups, Steven was a management consultant at two global management consulting firms, Accenture and Capgemini, where he worked on a various strategic engagements across multiple industries.Andy Croll is the CTO at ImpulseFlyer, and is one of Singapore’s most sought after designers and developers. An expert in user experience, he has worked with startups such as ViKi, Wego, buUuk and alongside Pivotal Labs in helping companies go from idea to polished, working product: both on the web and in mobile applications. He also organizes RedDotRubyConf, South East Asia’s first Ruby conference.What financial support did you have to launch the business?We were initially self funded, and recently raised a round of investment led by Neoteny Labs in Singapore.What problem are you trying to solve?We are looking to inspire affluent and emerging affluent travellers in the Asia Pacific region to discover and stay in fantastic properties in the region and around the world.With the very busy lifestyles that this specific demographic leads, spending time and energy looking and researching for their next holiday is normally not a luxury that they can afford.What they can afford however, is the stunning properties that we feature each week, so we make the decision making process quick and easy by carefully hand-picking the most amazing hotels in the world.Describe the business, core products and services?ImpulseFlyer members get exclusive access to flash sales where each week we feature different luxury and boutique hotels in different destinations.The customers win because we help them discover hotels and destinations that they not have heard of or considered before, and the hotels win because we help them attract the right customers.Who are your key customers and users at launch?In terms of hotels, we work mostly with luxury and boutique hotels in the Asia Pacific, but also feature hotels from around the world. We work with both independent properties as well as luxury chain hotels.Our members are affluent and emerging affluent consumers from the Asia Pacific region, who we specifically invite to become members of our exclusive, invite-only site.Did you have customers validate your idea before investors?Yes – we spoke to both hotels and potential members before starting the business, and developed and launched the first version of the product before raising money.What is the business AND revenue model, strategy for profitability?Similar to other private sales sites, we earn revenue through commissions from the bookings generated from the sales.SWOT analysis – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?Strengths: Very solid core team with diverse skillsets and backgrounds, both professionally and culturally. Early to market, with a strong product that was built from the ground up internally. Weaknesses: Early to market (both a strength and a weakness), as we face challenges in having the industry understand the difference between our business model versus everyone else in the market (e.g. mass market OTAs, group-buying sites, flash sales sites, etc.) Opportunities: Tremendous opportunity to expand into retail sales (which is planned), as well as focus on content. Threats: Like all new companies in the online travel space, we face threats from global competitors.Who advised you your idea isn't going to be successful and why didn't you listen to them?We have had positive feedback from the beginning – although we have had to adapt the business model to suit current market conditions.What is your success metric 12 months from now?Become the leading and most recognized brand in Asia Pacific region for affluent travellers in the region. NB: TLabs Showcase is part of the wider TLabs project from Tnooz.