TLabs Showcase on travel startups featuring US-based online cruise agency Cayole.
Who and what are you (including personnel and backgrounds)?
Cayole Cruises is a travel agency that specializes only in selling cruises.
We believe that specializing only in cruises, instead of becoming a travel agency for all product types, helps us to become experts in the sector and provide a specialized support for cruise travelers above and beyond what "regular" travel agencies can provide.
Cayole was founded by Ashot Hayratetyan who, before founding the business, worked as a programmer in the financial industry.
What financial support did you have to launch the business?
Cayole was supported financially using the savings of the founder. No outside capital has been raised.
What problem are you trying to solve?
There are many websites that sell cruises. However, many/most of them are not easy to use and are often very cluttered.
The goal at Cayole is to build the best, most feature-full and most easy to use website for searching and buying cruises.
Describe the business, core products and services?
The main goal of Cayole.com is to help cruise travelers search and find the best cruise for them in a simple and straightforward manner. Cruise travelers can either book their cruise online or they can call our toll free number and book their cruise over the phone.
Our mission is to make Cayole.com the best website and informational resource for cruise travelers.
Who are your key customers and users at launch?
The key customers and users are consumers who are interested in researching and booking cruises.
Did you have customers validate your idea before investors?
We do not have and have not had investors.
What is the business AND revenue model, strategy for profitability?
The business, revenue and profitability model is quite simple: sell many cruise trips and get commissions from cruise lines for those bookings.
SWOT analysis – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?
The most important strength of Cayole is the user-friendliness of our website. In particular, you can:
- Ask "Show me all the Caribbean cruises from Miami that cost less than $400".
- View historical prices and future price predictions for all cruise trips.
- Select your desired cruise criteria (destination, price range, etc.) right on the homepage of the site and see the best cruise deals instantaneously that match your criteria.
None of the three features above are available on any other cruise selling website. However, other, more established websites have a list of past passengers who frequently buy cruises from them. Thus, they have a head start and we, as a new travel agency, have some catching up to do.
Who advised you your idea isn't going to be successful and why didn't you listen to them?
Some family members and friends noted that there are a lot of cruise selling websites and it would be hard to succeed in the field. The founder felt, however, that we have a chance to build the most easy to use cruise website and succeed based on that.
What is your success metric 12 months from now?
The success metric is going to be how many cruises we'll be able to sell and how much revenue we'd be able to bring.
NB: TLabs Showcase is part of the wider TLabs project from Tnooz.