So what happened in the intervening 12 months?
Are you making money yet?
Yes, we have been making money from the onset through partner setup fees, but we’re now turning our attention to selling more product, of which we earn a commission (with the amount dependent on the distribution channel).
What has been the biggest problem – building the product/service or marketing it to consumers/travel industry?
We haven’t had any problem marketing our services to the travel industry, having recruited a wide network of tour operators across 70 countries, and now signing distribution partnerships with a number of OTAs and other travel websites.
We offer original short breaks with online availability in destinations very few others cover, and so most travel websites and agents are eager to take the product.
Biggest assumption in the business plan that was wrong?
Weâ€™ve made plenty of wrong assumptions developing the business, but fortunately we’ve had the support of WHL Group, as well as our initial investors whom are mostly all tour operators themselves, to help us refine and improve the business model.
To be specific though, probably that more people would be willing to book and pay instantly for a longer duration package, whereas at the moment we see more demand for custom-itineraries and short breaks (less than five days).
Is your current customer base as predicted?
Our customer base has shifted slightly to a higher-end of the market. Weâ€™re focusing on private packages of a high quality, both in the experiences and activities included, as well as accommodation.
It means a shift in how we market ourselvesâ€¦ changes are afoot.
Did you achieve your 12 month goals? If not, why not?
Yes, we launched in September 2011, and since then we’ve been making steady progress recruiting new partners and launching more products around the world.
Our goal in 2012 is to obviously now ramp up package sales via distributors and via our own website.
Has the problem you were trying to solve changed?
No. Travel websites still need unique bookable product and small tour operators still need assistance to get their product online in the most time-effective way possible.
Which startup that has launched in the past 12 months did you think “Ah, wish we had done that!”?
There are plenty of innovative travel tech startups, but I’ve never thought to change the direction of Gunyah.
If you could go back in time and tell yourself one thing, what would it be?
Iâ€™d tell myself to carefully select 10-15 destinations and focus on building out a wide range of product with the partners in those destinations, and then select the next round of destinations and partners based on lessons learned.
With that said, with fewer destinations initially, it may have taken longer to develop distribution partnerships.
NB: Tnooz launched TLab Showcase in March 2010, a dedicated channel to give startups in the travel, tourism and hospitality sector an opportunity to explain their vision, company background and strategy to a wider audience.
As well as publishing an elevator pitch-type questionnaire for each business, Tnooz committed to following up with each startup after 12 months or so to see how well (or not) each performed.