TLabs Showcase - FlextripNews / DistributionBy Kevin May | March 22, 2011Share This article was originally published on TLabs Showcase on travel startups featuring US and Austria-based destination tour and activity deals service Flextrip.Who and what are you (including personnel and backgrounds)?Flextrip enables users to spontaneously discover activities and things to do by broadcasting their current or future travel plans and letting suppliers bid for their business via personalized offers.Our core team consists of: Alex Kremer: Extensive startup experience in the tech, music and wine industries.Leith Stevens: Recently left the finance industry to follow his travel passion.Andrew Glover: 15 year veteran in software engineering including startups, major banks and the United Nations.What financial support did you have to launch the business?We’re currently self-funded.What problem are you trying to solve?By enabling users to broadcast their travel plans, we are taking the frustration out of planning trips by offering users great personalized offers direct from suppliers.Travelers not only save money but also receive offers for activities that they might not have discovered on their own.For suppliers, we are offering a low-cost, travel industry-focused alternative to group-buying sites and pure discounting by offering a targeted and opaque method to sell distressed or last-minute inventory.Describe the business, core products and services?Our consumer-oriented offerings include web, mobile app (coming Q2) and API partnerships which enable users to announce their immediate or future presence in a given city and request offers and ideas for things to do.We also offer standard book-ahead activities via industry partnerships.Our supplier portal enables activity vendors to target travelers in their area by making a personalized offer based on their current inventory.Who are your key customers and users at launch?Travelers who value spontaneity and defy rigidity in their travel plans are our prime target market on the consumer side.Suppliers who want to offer discounts opaquely to sell spare capacity while also limiting impact of discounting on profit margins. They can either target specific travelers or use rules to generate offers for a broader set of travelers.Did you have customers validate your idea before investors?Feedback from users and suppliers during our private beta has been tremendously positive and we are excited for our launch.What is the business AND revenue model, strategy for profitability?Our business is currently commission-based, with additional revenue streams part of our future plans.SWOT analysis – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?Strengths: We have a unique value proposition to both travelers and suppliers.No one else has brought this concept to market yet. Weaknesses: Early success will potentially spawn copycat websites, but our brand and strong supplier relationships create effective barriers.Chicken and egg problem of supplier and user acquisition. Opportunities: Growth will spawn a natural monopoly from being a marketplace/market maker.Horizontal integration into other travel markets, hotels, etc. Threats: Group-buying and LBS sites moving into travel.Lack of supplier adoption due to profit margin concerns.Who advised you your idea isn’t going to be successful and why didn’t you listen to them?Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. We’ve listened to criticism and adapted our business as necessary, modifying our model and website as required.We did hear that the online tour and activities market might still be too small. The recent Phocuswright report (see Tnooz) silenced that particular criticism.What is your success metric 12 months from now?3,000 suppliers signed up to our platform and growth in strategic partnerships. NB: TLabs Showcase is part of the wider TLabs project from Tnooz.