TLabs Showcase - TravelQNNewsBy Kevin May | May 18, 2011Share This article was originally published on TLabs Showcase on travel startups featuring Scotland-based travel agent lead-generation service TravelQN.Who and what are you (including personnel and backgrounds)?We are a consumer facing travel website that generates leads for professional travel agents. Team of one at the moment. Based in the UK. Background in web design and travel.What financial support did you have to launch the business?No financial support to date.What problem are you trying to solve?The problems associated with using the internet for travel search.From a consumer perspective, these are that online travel searches...: ...do not cope well with personal requirements (complexity)...are time consuming to use (entering your details in multiple times over multiple sites)...do not necessarily find the best deal (sites can’t think about alternatives to save money/improve the experience) As an example, handling a request like the one below is not possible with the mainstream travel sites: "I'm looking for a beach holiday, all inclusive, flying from Manchester - for family of 5 (2 adults and kids (10,8,5). Budget up to £8k. Flying end of July - but flexible on dates. Have done France and Spain recently, so something different would be good. My husband is keen to play some golf and I’d like to have some tennis lessons."Share this quote From a travel agent perspective, online travel search makes it difficult to: ...make presence felt (very competitive and expensive SEO)...sites are commodity/price driven rather than service/value driven...to demonstrate expertiseDescribe the business, core products and services?To address the above we have created TravelQn, a travel hub, where consumers submit their requirements, and travel agents respond with suggestions.Who are your key customers and users at launch?The key stakeholders are professional travel agents. They will provide the responses.The main users of the site will be consumers searching for holidays.Did you have customers validate your idea before investors?The idea has been tested from both a consumer perspective and a travel agent perspective.Both sets of potential users were very positive about the idea.What is the business AND revenue model, strategy for profitability?At the start, the site will be free to use for travel agents. Once sufficient volumes of enquiries are being generated, a form of subscription will be introduced.Other advertising revenue potential arising from the volumes of consumers have also been identified.SWOT analysis – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?Strengths: The very real need identified earlier, and the difficulty for existing travel websites to address these concerns. Weaknesses: It is a different way to search for your travel plans, so the consumer will need to be comfortable with the approach. I see TravelQn being one of a number of sites that would be visited, alongside the usual Expedia/ThomasCook etc. Opportunities: This is a big market to aim for, with no clear market leader with this approach. So the reward is potentially significant. Threats: Competition from a number of existing sites – both UK and US based.Who advised you your idea isn't going to be successful and why didn't you listen to them?Some travel agents just don’t get it – but a lot do, so we’ll keep on pushing forward.What is your success metric 12 months from now?A substantial number of travel agents providing the support – with several thousand enquiries per month. NB: TLabs Showcase is part of the wider TLabs project from Tnooz.