TLabs Showcase on travel startups featuring US-based Soverinn, a new booking technology platform for users looking for more than just a hotel room.
Who and what are you (including personnel and backgrounds)?
Soverinn is an experience booking engine. Our goal is to provide discerning travellers with an online portal that's designed to cater to life's special moments - anniversaries, birthdays, honeymoons, last-minute getaways, business trips, family vacations, to name a few.
We work exclusively with a handful of boutique/independent hotels in each city with one goal in mind: to discover your special moment in life and then deliver an unparalleled experience that you and yours will never forget.
No more weeding through hundreds of bland hotel listings that treat you like you're just one of their many customers.
Giancarlo and Marco Massaro, co-founders and brothers, head the Soverinn team.
What financial support did you have to launch the business?
- Giancarlo brings an extensive marketing background to the team having previously founded AnyLuckyDay, a social media marketing platform.
- Marco is the founder of Masswerks, a web design agency.
Soverinn is a bootstrapped startup that has no outside investors and is funded entirely by its founding team.
What problem are you trying to solve?
People want the ability to customize their stay at boutique and independent hotels, especially when traveling for an occasion.
When booking a room online there really is no way to communicate directly with hotels during the booking process, unless of course you pick up the phone to call (but who has the time to call several hotels to see if they can meet your requests?) Soverinn works to bridge that communication gap between the guest and hotels during the booking process.
Describe the business, core products and services?
The way Soverinn works is simple: Tell us where you're going and when, what the occasion is, and what we can do to make it perfect and memorable for you.
For example, you can tell us that you are traveling to New York City from 5/6-5/8 for your honeymoon. You are looking for a room on a high floor near the elevator and you want flowers and champagne in the room for your arrival.
Your trip information is then sent to our handful of hotels in your destination city that will review your request and make an offer.
Not just their best rate but also what they're willing to do to make your special moment even more memorable.
You'll be notified each time a hotel makes an offer. Feel free to ask questions too. Once you find an offer you like, confirm the offer via our secure dashboard and a member of their staff will be in touch to complete the booking.
Who are your key customers and users at launch?
At launch, we will be looking to target couples, especially those who travel for special occasions.
Did you have customers validate your idea before investors?
Yes, our potential customers and a few hotels validated our idea before we began building it. We setup a simple survey and posted it on several sites and forums that we frequent.
Over 500 people filled out our survey, with 70% confirming that they had wished there was a way to communicate with hotels during the online booking process.
We then took this idea and pitched it to a few boutique hotels. They confirmed that they would use a product like Soverinn if we built it.
What is the business AND revenue model, strategy for profitability?
We take a small percentage for each hotel booking that comes through Soverinn.
SWOT analysis – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?
- We work directly with the hotels that are listed on Soverinn.
- We give hotels a way to stand out from bland search results; they can compete for customers!
- We have a strong, motivated, and focused team with an advisory board of several hospitality professionals.
- Weeding out bogus travel requests
- As we experience growth, figuring out how to optimize our platform so that hotels can manage several offers at once.
- Taking advantage of a billion dollar industry with a new and unique way of customizing your hotel stay.
- Strategic partnerships with trip planning sites, as well as event planning sites (wedding planning, honeymoon planning, etc)
- White label our platform so that hotels can use this directly on their own website.
Who advised you your idea isn't going to be successful and why didn't you listen to them?
- Hotels could implement a similar solution on their own website to allow guests to tailor their stay.
- Hotels not actively using Soverinn, which would result in lower incoming requests from guests.
We have not yet been told that Soverinn wasn’t going to be successful. Of course, just because it is a good idea does not mean it will be successful.
The execution of the idea is what really matters.
What is your success metric 12 months from now?
The number of cities that Soverinn is in will determine our success metric. We will be launching in New York City, and hope to expand to at least 10 cities within the first year.
We’ve already received several international requests from hotels, so expanding globally is definitely something we hope to do within the next 24 months.
NB: TLabs Showcase is part of the wider TLabs project from Tnooz.