TLabs Showcase on travel startups featuring US-based user review and reputation management system OpinionWell.
Who and what are you (including personnel and backgrounds)?
Daniel Herndon and George Vanica, both with over 15 years of software and travel industry experience.
What financial support did you have to launch the business?
We are a boostrapped venture. We used a mix of good old ingenuity, sweat equity, offshore outsourcing, automated processes, lots of hardware, and many sleepless nights.
What problem are you trying to solve?
We are helping consumers and hoteliers make sense of the social media available online in the form of user reviews, blogs, comments and photos.
Describe the business, core products and services?
OpinionWell’s Review Analysis Dashboard product – a technological innovation that is providing hotels with a view into their online reputation – is a suite of online reports and monitoring tools engineered to allow hotels unprecedented access into the opinions of their hotel guests and the information they need to increase customer satisfaction and ultimately their revenue
OpinionWell treats hotel reviews like hotel customer surveys, providing market intelligence and empowering the decision-making process.
It’s like having a consultant with the skills to identify operational issues, highlight customer service needs, and track competitive performance but without the added cost.
The dashboard’s web-based business intelligence reporting tools deliver the results of OpinionWell’s data analysis in three levels of detail including:
Who are your key customers and users at launch?
- Summary data highlighting the hotels strengths and weaknesses.
- A breakdown of the overall rating by category.
- Feature-specific analysis including the actual comments from guest reviews.
We are targeting hotels that are interested in understanding their social reputation, and the features that are contributing to their rank.
Did you have customers validate your idea before investors?
What is the business AND revenue model, strategy for profitability?
We are offering the current functionality and access to our data set for free with the intention of charging for future advanced features like data analysis and management, notification features, customized charting and tracking features.
SWOT analysis – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?
- The lack of money makes you hungry and forces you to be smarter and more efficient
- We are a small company with large ideas.
- The travel industry is a multi-billion dollar opportunity, and we are part of a small group that has developed technology tailored for that industry.
Who advised you your idea isn't going to be successful and why didn't you listen to them?
- Bigger, better funded players enter the market.
Several business leaders from the travel industry (not named here) expressed skepticism about our ability to build a compelling product with such a small team, and penetrate the market without financing.
In our experience we have seen this attitude take a great idea off track, and we plan to avoid that mistake.
What is your success metric 12 months from now?
1,000 hotels signed up to use our Review Analysis Dashboard product. 500 hotels subscribed for additional services.
NB: TLabs Showcase is part of the wider TLabs project from Tnooz.