TLabs Showcase on travel startups featuring US-based hotel flash sale site Trippo.
Who and what are you (including personnel and backgrounds)?
We're three recent graduates from the University of Kentucky, operating out of the Northern KY/Cincinatti area. We've co-founded Trippo, Inc. together, a new flash sales site for discounts on exclusive weekend getaways.
What financial support did you have to launch the business?
We're currently bootstrapping, but will be seeking a seed/angel investment in the very near future.
What problem are you trying to solve?
We believe most people (especially 9-5'ers) tend to get into a routine of work, weekend, work, rinse and repeat, etc. Often times so consumed with work during the week they don't have the thought process or time (or money) to plan a fun getaway on the weekend.
NB: TLabs Showcase is part of the wider TLabs project from Tnoo
We want to help here by creating "package" deals, for say a ski trip, or a beach trip, or even just a romantic mountain getaway. Something where friends, couples, or a family can enjoy a fun and relaxing weekend away from the house, for a very affordable price.
Describe the business, core products and services?
We're a flash sale website, which means that each week we'll have a new set of (four to six) deals that are only available for purchase that week. They will also be of a limited quantity, and the most popular deals will sell out fast.
The deals will be for package vacation getaways, say a two night stay at a ski resort including two ski passes and rentals, for half price. We're also different than some of the other flash sale travel sites out there because we're not “private”, anybody can quickly sign up to take advantage of our deals.
Who are your key customers and users at launch?
Initially our deals are only going to be available in the US, however eventually we plan to include international deals as well. Our range of customers will be broad, anybody looking to get a great deal on a getaway vacation.
Golf trips, ski trips, family (waterparks, etc), romantic deals, we plan to have a good variety of deals each week to encompass as many customer groups as possible.
Did you have customers validate your idea before investors?
We just recently came out of "stealth" mode, and still haven't officially launched, so we haven't had a ton of direct validation. However, it's no news that daily deal and flash sale websites are taking over the commerce industry.
There are in fact several similar travel services that have enjoyed success, and we've had a good response from hotels we've been in contact with, as well as the users who have already signed up for our launch invite list.
What is the business AND revenue model, strategy for profitability?
We're very similar to other flash sale and group buying models. Each week we have a new set of deals that can only be purchased for a limited time, and only a limited quantity is available.
We're essentially a marketing outlet for hotels, resorts, inns, etc. that might otherwise have trouble reaching new customers. By offering a half price deal through us, they get that exposure to our customer base, as well as upfront guaranteed sales for the rest of the year.
It's at no cost to them (other than the discounted revenue), we take a percentage of the sales, only if we sell the deals.
SWOT analysis – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?
Our biggest strength would be our team. We've got a great programmer, a great sales/marketing guy, and a great ops/finance guy... really everything you would be looking for in a well rounded start up team. We're also a big fan of Trippo the hippo, our ambassador mascot, he's quite the character.
The opportunities are endless, people want deals right now, people want vacations, the market is huge. Once we can build up our user base and can get some revenues flowing our options to expand, in coverage area (international) or even in other travel services are plentiful.
Our weakness right now would be not having the traction, which coincides with threats. We're the new kid on the block, some of our competitors that have been around for a year or more have had the time to build up an amazing user base. We don't doubt that we can get there, but it will take some time and some hard work.
Who advised you your idea isn't going to be successful and why didn't you listen to them?
Like I mentioned, we really just came out of stealth mode, so we haven't shared our idea with many people yet.
We were able to look at the current market and competition and see the idea is essentially already successful, but it's wide open. Nobody is the "brand" for the market. Of the people we have consulted with, everybody loves it, we haven't had anybody say this can't be successful.
What is your success metric 12 months from now?
Hopefully, 12 months from now we have a very large user list and some serious revenue coming in. The way communication and technology works today, 12 months is such a long time.
Look at Groupon's growth in two years, the fastest growing company ever. It's possible in today's world for us to be one of the biggest names in the industry in a year, we're viewing things realistically, but we also enjoy optimism.
NB: TLabs Showcase is part of the wider TLabs project from Tnooz.