TLabs Reprise - KeepMeBooked 12 months onNewsBy Kevin May | June 20, 2011Share This article was originally published on KeepMeBooked is a UK-based guest house and B&B reservation system provider, first featured on Tnooz in March 2010 [TLabs Showcase - KeepMeBooked].Are you making money yet?At break-even now.What has been the biggest problem - building the product/service or marketing it to consumers/travel industry?Cost-effective marketing. You can market this kind of product with a direct sales force, but that costs many hundreds, or even thousands, of pounds per customer acquired.Especially when you factor in future support costs: someone who has had one-on-one guidance through the sales process tends also to want one-on-one support later. Whereas someone who’s followed a self-service sales process, tends also to be happy with a self-service support process.We’d rather use less money and acquire customers a little slower. (Plus, it feels a bit "wrong" to spend a large portion of a customer’s subscription money on acquiring new customers. Better to spend that money on building a better product).Biggest assumption in the business plan that was wrong?That online travel agents would be eager and willing to accept XML feeds of rates and availability. They (mostly) aren’t, so we provide this functionality through SiteMinder’s channel manager rather than spend months persuading each OTA to let us hook up direct to their system.Is your current customer base as predicted?Yes, roughly.Did you achieve your 12 month goals? If not, why not?Yes, broadly speaking.Has the problem you were trying to solve changed?Nope. The majority of independent accommodation providers still don’t take online bookings, and still can’t easily share their rate & availability info. That’s the problem we are solving.Which startup that has launched in the past 12 months did you think “Ah, wish we had done that!”?I’m not sure I really think like that. I don’t think I’d look at another business and think "I wish I’d done that".If a business looks so good that you wish you’d done it, then you should, erm, do it yourself. Someone else having 12 months head start doesn’t make much difference in the long run.If you could go back in time and tell yourself one thing, what would it be?That sharp pain in your abdomen is appendicitis, go to hospital now ;-)NB: Tnooz launched TLabs in March 2010, a dedicated channel to give startups in the travel, tourism and hospitality sector an opportunity to explain their vision, company background and strategy to a wider audience.As well as publishing an elevator pitch-type questionnaire for each business, Tnooz committed to following up with each startup after 12 months or so to see how well (or not) each performed. NB2: TLabs Showcase is part of the wider TLabs project from Tnooz.