TLabs Showcase – Bonvoy
TLabs Showcase focus on startups featuring Houston, US-based Bonvoy, a group travel organiser through Facebook.
Who and what are you (including personnel and backgrounds)?
Mujteba Naqvi the CEO was a social entrepreneur in the non-profit sector. Travel was a passion and especially with family/friends.
Bonvoy was born from his outlook to be solution-oriented. He was frustrated with the hassles of participating in group trips because it meant having to deal with chain emails, scheduling disasters, searching for travel deals, and trying to split up costs.
The process was a nightmare, so he thought to build a familiar feeling and easily accessible Facebook application that makes group travel painless.
To make the Bonvoy application come to fruition he assembled a team of engineers with backgrounds in travel software and social application development.
Bonvoy is currently piloting an Amadeus technology that allows creative endeavours like the bonvoy facebook application to be realized
What financial support did you have to launch the business?
We are bootstrapped and are seeking to raise funding.
What problem are you trying to solve?
We saw an issue and were personally at issue (as travellers ourselves) with the hassles and frustrations involved in small group travel.
People want an easy tool to organize, book, and split up costs when meeting up with college buds during March Madness, going on that infamous bachelor party to Las Vegas, or girlfriends going off for a shopping getaway in New York.
Describe the business, core products and services?
We are a licensed and accredited online travel agency that sells travel and travel services. This is through social networking enabled, travel ecommerce including hotels and car (flights coming soon).
The booking/reservation process is powered by Amadeus’ powerful platform that delivers an extensive and growing range of content such as air, car, and hotel fares.
The platform also provides travel-related information to the growing audience of online travelers. Coupled with Bonvoy’s robust group trip tools, the facebook application has become a groundbreaking social travel booking engine.
Who are your key customers and users at launch?
Six to eight-person traveller groups who want to coordinate and collaborate on a trip without all the fuss.
Did you have customers validate your idea before investors?
Our social proof was through formal and informal surveys of persons who have or will travel in small groups. Overwhelmingly the application was been praised for its focus on a solution for the travel of many.
What is the business AND revenue model, strategy for profitability?
Bonvoy will sell travel and earn associated commissions from those sales. Certain strategic partnerships and negotiated contract rates will allow Bonvoy to dynamically mark up pricing and still be competitive in the market.
We will continue to add other travel and travel-related products that best fit our core services.
As a lean startup, our cost of doing business is substantially lower than larger players that offer similar travel products/services. We aim to offer spectacular travel and customer service to develop our name brand.
SWOT analysis – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?
- Makes group travel painless, familiar look and feel in a widely used platform.
- Yet unknown travel brand, slow sales cycle.
- Amongst the first players as an online travel agency in the emerging social travel space – very big market in untapped travel segment.
- Larger players in the online travel space and perhaps being too early.
Who advised you your idea isn’t going to be successful and why didn’t you listen to them?
Experts in social space are not experts in travel and vice versa, so they could not judge success from inception of the idea.
It has been well received but caution has been given as to the social travel space still being nascent.
We believe that the travel industry was a pioneer in ecommerce so as social ecommerce becomes more mainstream our application serves to be at the forefront of the social travel space.
What is your success metric 12 months from now?
- 2,000 group trips planned and booked.
- 150,000 application installations.
- Introduction and integration of other travel and travel-related products.
Kevin is senior editor and a co-founder at Tnooz. He was previously editor of UK-based magazine Travolution and web editor of Media Week UK from 2003 to 2005.
He has worked in regional newspapers (Essex Enquirer) and started his career at the Police Gazette at New Scotland Yard in London. He has a degree in criminology, a postgraduate diploma in magazine journalism and publishes his first book - a biography about Depeche Mode - in early-2017.