TLabs Showcase - TripAlertzNewsBy Dennis Schaal | October 13, 2010Share This article was originally published on TLabs Showcase focus on startups featuring US-based travel deals service TripAlertz.Who and what are you (including personnel and backgrounds)?TripAlertz provides travelers epic savings for premium getaways through the power of collective buying.Its prices are often 30-50% lower than the leading online travel sites, since TripAlertz is a private sale, members-only distribution channel, which uses the combined purchasing power of our members to negotiate exceptional deals.TripAlertz has a team of 20+ people launching its product including: Founder, Brendan Murphy (former VP sales and marketing for American Express Travel Affiliate)Executive chairman, Mark Donohue (former founder and chairman of Expansion Capital Partners, current Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Babson College)VP supplier relations, Jeff Horch (former vice president at Travelport). The team has hundreds of years of combined travel and technology experience.What financial support did you have to launch the business?TripAlertz is backed by Conscious Living Ventures and several wealthy angel entrepreneurs. TripAlertz is currently in talks with several leading venture capital institutions to raise Series A financing.What problem are you trying to solve?For travelers, TripAlertz is the best online destination for impulse getaways priced 30-50% below the leading online travel sites. Travelers receive pricing they would not receive on their own through the power of collective buying.For travel suppliers, TripAlertz answers the question “How do you sell more travel products and experiences through social media, while also protecting your brand and existing distribution channels?”Describe the business, core products and services?TripAlertz is the perfect online destination for travelers looking for an impulse getaway at the guaranteed lowest price.The site features premium hotels & resorts in the most popular destinations. Some of our current launch partners include the Trump International Beach Resort in Sunny Isles, FL, The Atlantic Hotel in Ft. Lauderdale, El Cid Beach Resort in Riviera Maya, Parc 55 Wyndham in San Francisco, and the Crescent Hotel in Beverly Hills.On the site, members can submit creative trip ideas, vote on their favorite deals, work together to receive epic savings, and collaborate before they travel to receive the absolute best advice on what to do when they arrive.Who are your key customers and users at launch?Initial members of TripAlertz are trendsetting users of social media who understand the value of our travel experiences.Key travel supplier customers are 4- and 5-star hotels and resorts in the most popular travel destinations.Did you have customers validate your idea before investors?Founder Brendan Murphy developed the concept several months before Groupon and Jetsetter were launched. After nine months of Groupon and Jetsetter operating, investment capital was raised as TripAlertz provides several advantages over those successful sites.What is the business AND revenue model, strategy for profitability?TripAlertz takes a cut of each sale transacted on the site. The site also generates revenue through advertising and several affiliate marketing programs.SWOT analysis – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?Strengths: Patent pending social media marketing applicationFirst to offer collective buying with focus on travel industryPrivate distribution channelPre-trip collaboration provides members best-in-class travel advice. Weaknesses: Modestly financed compared to many of the multi-billion dollar leading online travel sites. Opportunities: Chance to take a cut of one of the largest markets in the world by reshaping the online travel experience to reflect the trends of today’s social world.Chance to reshape “green travel.” Threats Entering one of the most competitive and dynamic markets in the world.Who advised you your idea isn't going to be successful and why didn't you listen to them?With true innovation there are always people that doubt you. If you have a dream, you must commit, recommit, and always remember that the journey is more important than the destination.What is your success metric 12 months from now?TripAlertz wants to have more than 250,000 members 12 months from now, along with a steady stream of world-class deals from some of the most prestigious travel suppliers in the world.NB: TLabs Showcase is part of the wider TLabs project from Tnooz.