TLabs Showcase - HipDealzNewsBy Kevin May | June 10, 2011Share This article was originally published on TLabs Showcase on travel startups featuring US-based local travel product platform HipDealz.Who and what are you (including personnel and backgrounds)?HipDealz helps tourists and travelers find great local daily deals in their travel destination. It also enables travel websites to join the daily deals party by offering targeted local daily deals to their users.HipDealz was founded by Erez Armoza, an avid traveler and entrepreneur with over 15 years of high-tech experience and over three years worth of traveling in dozens of countries.What financial support did you have to launch the business?HipDealz is currently entirely self-funded, and we have not been actively seeking outside funding.What problem are you trying to solve?HipDealz’s goal is to help travelers discover the best local experiences at their destination, and to give them the opportunity to take part in deals that are attractive even to the locals.We also aim to help travel websites generate a substantial amount of revenue from the ongoing Daily Deals party, by allowing them to offer to their users various deals. In the selection of these deals we make sure to take into account the interests and needs of both domestic and international tourists.Describe the business, core products and services.The core product is a daily deal aggregation website that allows the users to browse and filter deals in their destination, as well as to subscribe to daily emails with deals in their destination, with the subscription automatically stopping upon their return from the trip.We also currently offer two services that allow travel websites to work with us: The HipDealz Travel Widget – a widget that displays deals relevant to travelers and near to the destinations or attractions the user is looking at on the travel website.Email Subscription – Hipdealz allows other websites to subscribe users to its daily email with deals at their destination, and to add it as part of a travel product purchasing process. Websites can add a checkbox that says: "Subscribe to daily emails with deals offered in my destination until my return from the trip."Who are your key customers and users at launch?We’ve partnered with daily deals sites with deals available all over the USA and the UK, with Canada next in line. We are adding additional daily deals websites daily, and we expect to have coverage of most of Europe and the Americas very soon.For launch, we’ve partnered with a few travel websites (with some already live, and some coming soon), and we are working on adding more such partnerships.Did you have customers validate your idea before investors?We verified the concept with potential users as well as with the owners of a couple of travel-related websites. They all approved of the idea.What is the business AND revenue model, strategy for profitability?We generate affiliate commission from the various deals websites, and we share this revenue with our partner websites. Most of our agreements with our affiliates include performance incentives, which we also share with our partners.SWOT analysis – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.Strengths: "5Win" Solution: win for the user, win for the travel website, win for the daily deals site, win for the merchant, and win for usHipDealz caters to all travel related sites, be it the largest travel booking site or the smallest travel blog.Very easy integrationA unique solution for a huge marketGreat understanding of both the travel market and the daily deals market.Immediate revenue stream. Weaknesses: Shallower pockets than some of our competitors. We may need more capital to make the most of the opportunity. Opportunities: Travelers must spend money during their trip on things like meals, accommodation and transportation, and usually they also have a significant budget for tours and activities. Providing them with great deals for high-quality experiences presents a great opportunity for HipDealz. Threats: Strong players in neighboring markets may decide to go in a similar direction to ours.Who advised you your idea isn’t going to be successful, and why didn’t you listen to them?We got only positive feedback about the concept. Some people advised us to be careful of the competition.What is your success metric 12 months from now?We would like to have at least 30 million users exposed to our widget every month, and over 1 million concurrent subscribers to our daily email. NB: TLabs Showcase is part of the wider TLabs project from Tnooz.