TLabs Showcase on travel startups featuring US-based travel review and other social media monitoring service Revinate.
Who and what are you (including personnel and backgrounds)?
Revinate is the ultimate social media solution for hotels. Focused exclusively on the hospitality industry, we provide clients with a complete picture of everything being said about them online.
Revinate distills guest satisfaction metrics from the unstructured stream of social media conversations and allow hotels to act on intelligence to improve guest satisfaction and loyalty, increase bookings and improve margins.
The company was founded in 2009 by Jay Ashton and Marc Heyneker. Jay was previously the president of luxury OTA Five Star Alliance, and Marc was Director of High Tech Sales, North America at technology company, Akamai.
The team includes seasoned executives with experience at top hospitality companies (Accor, Kimpton, Affinia), online travel sites (Travelocity, Five Star Alliance) consumer and technology companies (Adobe, Akamai, Epinions), and social media companies (Sprout, Ning).
What financial support did you have to launch the business?
Revinate is funded with capital from the founders and strategic angel investors.
What problem are you trying to solve?
Social media and online reviews have become the most important measure of guest satisfaction for hotels. This feedback channel not only provides the insight necessary to improve operations, but is now the number one factor impacting booking decisions.
Revinate is the first solution to harness this explosion of content in such a way that busy hoteliers and brands can act on the intelligence.
Describe the business, core products and services?
Revinate is a cloud-based SaaS (Software As A Service) application for hoteliers built on modern, enterprise, scalable technology. Our clients include individual properties, brands of all sizes, management companies, asset managers and ownership groups.
Revinate tracks and analyzes all mentions of our customers, from online reviews to social networks (including Facebook and Twitter), and also monitors blog posts, news articles, forums, comments, and even photos and videos.
Revinate also tracks the competitors of each customer in order to provide a true “Social Media Scorecard” that racks historical performance and competitive benchmarks.
Revinate also includes a customized, fully-integrated social media publishing platform that allows hoteliers to manage multiple Twitter accounts and Facebook pages directly from Revinate. Revinate also tracks bars, restaurants, spas and other facilities for our customers.
Who are your key customers and users at launch?
Revinate is working with all different types of hospitality clients, including independent properties, boutique chains, major brands, management companies and asset managers. Some examples include Kimpton, White Lodging, Joie de Vivre, Grand Hyatt Kauai, The Peninsula Chicago, Hilton Las Vegas and many, many others.
Did you have customers validate your idea before investors?
Prior to launch we built prototypes of our service and had numerous discussions with many hoteliers to validate our concept. This pre-launch feedback was instrumental in the development of a solution that was valuable and unique immediately upon initial launch. We continue to use client feedback to drive our roadmap.
What is the business AND revenue model, strategy for profitability?
Revinate is a SaaS application sold to individual hotels and hospitality groups of all sizes. Customers pay a monthly licensing fee for access to the Revinate application. Revinate is on track to be profitable by the end of 2010.
SWOT analysis – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?
- Ease of use
- Incredibly intuitive user interface
- Comprehensive data and extremely high data quality
- Most robust functionality
- Sweet spot of cost and value for our target market
- 100% focus on the hospitality market
- Forward thinking and able to go to market quickly
- World-class support and training
- In depth understanding of our target users and their business goals and strategies
- Modern, scalable enterprise-grade technology
- Experienced executive team and advisors with a broad array of connections
- Need to move from reactive to proactive sales internationally to quickly address global market opportunity.
- Need to continue to add innovative new features without hurting our ease-of-use
- To become the industry-standard social media solution for the hospitality industry
- To develop additional intuitive, modern technology solutions for the hospitality industry
- To expend horizontally into additional markets and industries
- Additional web-based services to the hospitality industry
- Expansion into other verticals
Who advised you your idea isn't going to be successful and why didn't you listen to them?
- The impact of worsening economic conditions on our industry
A few people advised us that social media solutions already existed. We realized that there was no company that focused exclusively on the hospitality industry with an intuitive, scalable, innovative solution. We also realized that the needs of our target market were so unique such that they required a solution focused exclusively on the hospitality industry.
What is your success metric 12 months from now?
Our main success metric – in addition to employee satisfaction and growth – is bottom-line revenue, which will allow us to expand and invest to become an even more valuable solution for our clients. Other key metrics include margins and customer count, along with client satisfaction and engagement.
NB: TLabs Showcase is part of the wider TLabs project from Tnooz.