TLabs Showcase on travel startups featuring Australia-based group travel buying site Getaway Lounge.
Who and what are you (including personnel and backgrounds)?
Getaway Lounge is a group buying travel site based in Australia. We source a series of travel deals each week that are promoted through our website and the marketing channels of Nine Entertainment Co (one of Australia's largest media companies).
We have drawn our brand from Getaway, Australia's top rating travel television show.
Founding staff are Tim Hughes as CEO and Lauren McLaughlin as COO.
Tim has spent more than a decade in online travel with Expedia and Orbitz. He is also well known for his industry analysis on the Business of Online Travel (BOOT) blog and as a Tnooz node.
Lauren has years of experience in online media including time with the BBC and Fetch TV. She is also a director of the Australian Interactive Media Industry Association.
The site is hot off the presses. We launched on May 25 2011.
What financial support did you have to launch the business?
We are backed by Nine Entertainment Co with other partners to be announced soon.
What problem are you trying to solve?
Suppliers in Australia and those outside servicing Australian customers are desperately looking for ways to generate customer acquisition and brand growth and sales all in one place.
The OTAs are good at sales, Google is good at customer acquisition and online/offline media specialises in brand. No one has yet delivered the ability to do all three in one place....until now.
Customers in Australia are confused by the number of group sites and deals pitches. No one has yet delivered a group buying site with a trusted brand and travel experience... until now.
Describe the business, core products and services?
For suppliers we are a marketing channel for customer acquisition, brand marketing and sales generation. For customers we are a member/invite only, group buying premium travel site.
Who are your key customers and users at launch?
Being supported by Nine gives us amazing access to marketing. We will have our deals live weekly on the Getaway show as well as promoted through print media (large magazine group), Ticketek (number one ticketing company) and Ninemsn (MSN operation in Australia). Our launch marketing will be through all these channels.
Did you have customers validate your idea before investors?
We tested extensively internally.
What is the business AND revenue model, strategy for profitability?
We split the voucher value with suppliers. For suppliers we send them money, customers and brand exposure that can be measured and valued.
To be profitable and succeed we will show the suppliers that we are not an online travel agent. Rather we are are a marketing channel.
Like all marketing channels, the booking is made by the customer with the supplier and therefore the customer is owned and acquired by the supplier not us.
SWOT analysis – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?
- We know travel and we have have marketing strength. The marketing strength of Nine allows us to fulfil the true brand and customer acquisition promise of group buying.
- Online travel is a mature 15+ year-old business. We are well aware that we are entering a market full of players
- Australia is a $11.1 billion online travel market (PhoCusWright). Group buying in travel is at present only a $100 million market (IBISWorld). Enormous opportunity.
Who advised you your idea isn’t going to be successful and why didn’t you listen to them?
- This is travel. Everything is a threat. From earthquakes to volcanoes and established competitors. But there is nothing that keeps us awake at night.
I had a lot people roll their eyes when I said I was joining a group buying site. However the rolling stopped the minute I mentioned the brand and the backers.
What is your success metric 12 months from now?
Dollars, happy members and happy suppliers.
NB: TLabs Showcase is part of the wider TLabs project from Tnooz.