Travel Tech Essentialist #104: Frame
We are comforted by lines going up and panicked by lines going down. What we often neglect is the frame in which we're viewing things. — Jack Butcher
This newsletter is sponsored by Belvera Partners
What is travel technology’s biggest marketing & PR mistake? Assuming that all audiences are the actual end traveller. What about engaging with investors, industry analysts, tech partners, trade suppliers or B2B clients?
Download our Belvera B2B travel map to find out how we use PR to focus on the stakeholders that really count through media relations, social media and conference speaking.
1. Airbnb: Growth And Profitability At Scale
In the last newsletter, I referred to the Elon Musk effect, and how his cost-cutting measures at Twitter set a standard for other companies as they address the economic downturn. Airbnb is an example of a company that has shifted towards profitability, free cash flow, and a lean cost structure. This Seeking Alpha article highlights how Airbnb continues to see strong demand and claims that its network effects, scale advantages, and brand awareness shield it from competitive and economic threats. Read + Seeking Alpha
2. More on airline subscriptions
In my last newsletter I linked to a post that I wrote about Flight Subscriptions. Brian Summers published a couple of days ago a post titled Flight Subscriptions Might Be Good For Business on Caravelo and its flight subscription technology. This was quite the endorsement:
I can also tell you I checked with my network of airline insiders before writing this piece, just to make sure Uriz [Caravelo cofounder & CEO] isn't full of 💩, and people vouched for the idea. — Brian Summers
3. Thirty six reports and articles on travel subscriptions
In the past, I’ve referred to two a couple of interactive datasets I launched in 2021 and updated every week.
One is the Research & Insights dataset, a searchable and weekly updated platform with 1250 articles and reports, 459 categories and 1087 companies to search, find and discover relevant content easily. There is a $100 cost to access the dataset, but since I’ve paid particular attention to airlines and other travel product subscriptions lately, I decided to share with you a public/free view of all content in the Research & Insights dataset that falls under the “Subscriptions” category: a total of 36 subscriptions-related articles and reports. Access here.
For those of you who are not subscribers to the datasets and want to access the remaining 1214 content pieces and 458 categories, you can join the dataset(s) here:
Research & Insights dataset ($100)
Startup & Investors dataset ($100)
BOTH datasets ($145)
4. Make Board Meetings Great Again
Board meetings are only useful if they move things forward. Mike Maples from VC Floodgate says that there are really only four things a board needs to consider:
Has the market changed since we last met? If so, did it affect us negatively or positively?
Has the team changed? For better or worse?
Has our position in the market changed?
Did we do what we said we would?
First Round (VC specialized in seed-stage) wrote The Secret to Making Board Meetings Suck Less, with actionable pointers on how to manage and conduct board meetings to make them more efficient and productive.
5. Realizations that make product leaders see the matrix
Scott Belsky brainstorms on the essential realizations that cause product leaders to suddenly “get it.” Among them:
That, as a startup, you should only do half of what you want to do to compound your chances of true PMF (half the options, half the tabs, half the offerings, and half the target audience).
That consumer products ultimately succeed because of how people feel about themselves using them. Ego analytics, surprise and delight, and hooks to appeal to our laziness, vanity, and selfishness in the first mile of product experience are the biggest secret in product.
That perceived performance matters more than actual performance (perception is reality when it comes to UX!), and can be achieved as much by designers than engineers.
That the most powerful (and affordable) driver of product growth is surprise, delight, and intrigue.
6. OTA loyalty strategies
My good friend and former eDreams Odigeo colleague (and now VP of growth at Kiwi.com) Mario Gavira wrote a post on the customer retention efforts and the future plans of some of the major OTAs: Expedia, Booking.com, Hopper and Airbnb. If the past decade was primarily ruled by online customer acquisition, he expects that in this decade, those players who build a genuine loyal customer base will come out on top. Read +.
7. State of global Venture Capital
CD Insights released a 279-page Venture 2022 Report with data on global and regional VC trends, unicorn activity, and more. Some of the 2022 highlights (or lowlights):
Global venture funding reached $415.1B in 2022, a 35% drop from a record 2021. US was down 37%, Europe -17%, Asia -40% and Africa jumped 35% to $3.1B — a new record for the continent.
Global deal volume fell by only 4% in 2022, reaching 36,177 deals
Global IPOs dropped by 31% to 716. M&A deals dropped by 8% to 10,037. SPAC deals saw the largest drop among exits types, falling by 44% to 78.
Between 2021 and 2022, the new unicorn count fell by 52% from 539
8. Jetblue Ventures’ focus and investments
Jetblue Ventures is one of the most active VCs in the travel space, with 46 investments and 26 follow-ons. 2022 Year in Review provides an overview of their investments, partnerships and portfolio updates.
9. Good news corner
Here are some companies announcing great results in 2022:
The Hotels Network. Its 16,000+ client hotels achieved 11,587,101 direct bookings in 2022 ( 42% increase vs 2021), an average of over 22 bookings per minute. Read +. And congrats to THN for winning the award for #1 Direct Booking Tool of 2023 by HotelTechReport.com.
Boat rental marketplace Borrow A Boat, which offers access to more than 45,000 boats in over 65 countries, had year-on-year revenue growth of +400%. Read +.
Guruhotel closed the year with $7.6 million in gross bookings (a 261% year-on-year increase), 56,555 room nights, 21,421 direct bookings, and 46,656 travelers.
10. Fundraising & Partnerships
Fractal Homes raised $30 million in seed funding. The UK-based startup offers fractional home ownership across Europe's capital cities focused on buyers from Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE.
Paris-based startup Campings.com raised €27 million and aquires Dutch competitor BookerZzz. Read + (in French).
Israel-based Hotelmize closed $12 million in an extension to its Series B funding. The startup works with OTAs, tour operators, bed banks and other resellers to help them maximize hotel booking profits.
JetBlue announced a new partnership with Uber that awards airline passengers who book a travel package with the carrier a free $20 voucher from Uber for airport transfers. Read +.
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Me encanta! I Now I'm curious to see if the heart vs wallet retention strategies work better for different generations