TLabs Showcase on travel startups featuring US-based travel video content service TripTelevision.
Who and what are you (including personnel and backgrounds)?
TripTelevision offers complete services for travel marketers to leverage professional, High Definition (HD) videos for hotels, destinations and activities. Services include scalable production, state-of-the-art video delivery, distribution, and licensing and editing of stock content archives.
Videos are delivered using intelligent media player technology combined with viewer reporting to measure return on investment.
Distribution and syndication services provided by TripTelevision help grow online travel business through engagement, interaction, site retention and conversions on brand, partners and social media sites.
What financial support did you have to launch the business?
- Kulin Strimbu, President and CEO
- Elizabeth Holt, CLU, ChFC, CFP, CFO
- Christopher Chong, VP, Sales and Marketing
- Thom Strimbu, Production Manager
TripTelevision has been funded by personal and angel investment capital.
What problem are you trying to solve?
TripTelevision was introduced to address the need for delivery of video as a marketing solution, not simply a player.
With the known increase in customer retention, revisits, and conversions when viewing videos on both social and retail sites, there was an obvious and imminent need for travel provider and destination video content.
Our solution was developed to assist our clients with their online marketing strategy as an integrated solution with their existing social media, distribution channel, and business websites. We are the only travel video marketing service that assists customers in the effort of driving business back to their websites - and not to our own.
Describe the business, core products and services?
The TripTelevision Video Marketing Solution offers three key elements:
Who are your key customers and users at launch?
- Technology – we host, syndicate, and deliver videos through our Flash media player solution to partner sites. We offer simple player solutions as well as customizable player development that can include interactive player components such as Search features, Buy It Now buttons within the player that hook into booking engines, and dynamic video play features allowing for displays that are not centred on a set playlist.
- Content – We assist our customers to create their own content with our professional production crews, featuring our Cinematic Travel Experience (CTE). This production style is meant to deliver story-based, emotionally engaging and entertaining, film-like pieces. This production work is done at a very economical price and can feature multiple pieces specifically produced for the channel where they will be delivered. Specifically, videos on an OTA will be vastly different than finished work that is delivered for viral channels, such as YouTube. We also offer the Travel Content Store, featuring over 1800 hours of professionally filmed destination footage of 65 countries, which we customize and brand for our customers through advanced editing suites. This allows our customers to have a critical mass of high-quality content in a short period of time.
- Distribution – Most online marketers are not savvy in where or how to deliver video content to the marketplace. Most only know how to upload a video to YouTube or their websites which limits both exposure and new opportunity. TripTelevision has partnered with existing rich media delivery channels, such as VFM Leonardo, so existing distribution relationships and partnerships can be maintained and also syndicates video content to social media channels through automated syndication technology. Our reach now extends beyond standard travel-centric sites through our partnership with News Distribution Network. This allows our content to be syndicated to all partner sites of News Inc., directly to their travel pages. This channel opens up a new marketplace for TripTelevision customers that currently deliver over 500 million page views/impressions every month.
Our focus is on any travel marketer or media organization who wishes to develop a strong video marketing solution. This could include OTA’s, media sites, consortiums, CVB’s, hotel or resort owners – our product really suits many organizations.
On the production side, we are currently doing quite a bit of production work for large hotel groups; we are just finishing a large project with Starwood Hawaii.
Did you have customers validate your idea before investors?
Most of our investment capital was received pre-customers, so investment was based on the business concept and the executive team.
What is the business AND revenue model, strategy for profitability?
Our goal has morphed over the last few years. Today, the strategy for long-term profitability rests in the leasing of our technology and distribution platform through monthly or annual fees.
The second is participation in advertising revenue share for those sites who wish to lease the content we provide and do pre, post, or player ad-wraps.
SWOT analysis – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?
- We are unique to the marketplace and have no known or perceived competitors. If we continue to move ahead at the pace we have set, we could have a solid two to three year lead on the market.
- We are selling a new product and a new business model to an industry that does not easily adopt new things or change. If the industry doesn’t perceive the same value as other verticals, this could be an uphill battle.
- Every online vertical that sells or markets travel as a destination, experience, or product is a potential consumer and we have the infrastructure to deliver a solid product with very little contribution on their part. Having a great deal of content already as well as a large distribution network really allows us to jump-start new business without the typical monetary and time-related issues.
Who advised you your idea isn't going to be successful and why didn't you listen to them?
- I believe it was the owner of Facebook who said “We don’t know who our closest competition is”, and that is really our situation. We don’t know if we have a competitor because they don’t exist or because we simply don’t know them yet. Time to market to solidify our position and successful scalability are our biggest threats.
We received less advice that we received requests for very specific needs. Our original business model only involved a technology solution.
What we discovered during our sales and consulting efforts was that the industry required content and distribution first, then the technology would be applicable. We definitely listened.
What is your success metric 12 months from now?
We are now transitioning from start-up to an emergent company. We have moved beyond the investing stage and are now to scaling and profitability.
During the next twelve months, we not only expect to be profitable but also to position ourselves to transition from online video delivery to VOD and on-demand cable delivery for television.
NB: TLabs Showcase is part of the wider TLabs project from Tnooz.