Event calendars are an essential tool for any destination or venue, as they provide a centralized source for a location's goings-on.
However, they are difficult to keep updated - and nearly impossible to keep updated across the dozens of calendar platforms available to consumers.
Enter WhenCorp, a new startup that promises to eliminate these headaches and keep all calendars updated across platforms. This is a very specific pain point, but one that seems big enough to elicit some serious sighs of relief from a certain subset of travel marketers.
WhenCorp realizes the potential impact of their service and does not hesitate to bring it home:
If your job is to bring more audience to any type of regularly scheduled or special event then our new service will blow your mind! It will be exactly what you've been looking for, our promise to you!
Seriously, just signup to the right and we'll let you know once we're up and running.
Clients either enter their events into the WhenCorp system or pull them in via RSS, and WhenCorp automatically updates the events across all selected platforms.
Events can also be pulled into social media platforms like Facebook. The only thing users are required to do is enter the events, and change any details as needed. All changes will be propagated across calendars automatically.
For an example of the service in action, check out Pensacola CVB's Facebook page for their up-to-date listings.
Q&A with CEO Jed Weissberg:
How is the way you are solving this problem more special or effective than previous attempts you or the market has seen before and how different do you have to be to succeed?
The way most companies approach the event issue is to build a consumer facing site or app. The theory is that the consumer service will become THE place to discover events and there fore everyone will list on it. This never works.
WhenCorp looks at the issue from the event owners point of view. Their problem is that distribution = marketing; and they need to have their schedules everywhere to be assured that a customer will see it.
Why should people or companies use your startup?
- We need to be different in two ways to be successful. First we need to open up event data distribution, so that it is no-longer locked down to a few sites but available as a structured feed for anyone to access.
- We need to find new ways to present event data that better fits with the types of media presentations customers have become accustomed to.
An event is a sale at a store, a performance, a lecture, a class schedule - things limited by time taking place at a specific location.
In the past, a business could list their event information on one or two media outlets and their own web calender, and feel confident that their target consumers would see it. This is no longer true. The consumer experience has become too fractured for this to work.
For a business to be assured that consumers will know about their events, they need to make their events discoverable. To make them discoverable they must have their events listed everywhere.
To list them everywhere, a business would have to know all possible outlets and spend the time posting to and maintaining information on all of them. That’s an impossible manual task. WhenCorp solves this problem.
Other than going viral and receiving mountains of positive PR, what is the strategy for raising awareness and getting customers/users?
We do this in two ways. First is to provide consumer services to our business clients which can go viral, for example our event reminder service - a bookmark for event information. Second by a three pronged sales strategy: direct sales using an inside sales force; agency sales and a self serve model.
What other options have you considered for the business and the team if the original vision fails?
The original vision has already failed. While we always wanted to disrupt the events space, how we were going to do that was very different 6 months ago compared to today. So the option is to keep learning and changing until we find what works best.
What mistakes have you made in the past in business and how have you learned from them?
So many! A mistake is a gift - use it to learn.
What is wrong with the travel, tourism and hospitality industry that requires another startup to help it out?
- Spend money to save time
- Take time off every week and forget about your company. I take Friday 6pm to Sunday 6am. (a big martini helps)
How people discover and communicate has changed. Many in the travel, tourism and hospitality industry are moving to face these challenges, but more needs to be done.
WhenCorp seems to have hit on a true pain point for a particular demographic that will gladly pay for their services.
Not only will it make life easier for DMO marketers and venue managers, the consistency of information across platforms will reduce consumer confusion and increase the likelihood of attendance by having up-to-date event information in more places online.
Anyone who has arrived at an event only to find it was cancelled, moved to a different day or changed venues will understand how annoying it is to have outdated event information online.
The question will be what price point marketers and managers will be comfortable with - ie. just how big of a pain point is it, both from the business side and the consumer side?
WhenCorp should find that sweet spot and exploit it, because this tool has serious utility for marketers and consumers.
NB:TLabs Showcase is part of the wider TLabs project from Tnooz.