Travel Tech Essentialist #91: Positioning
Competing to be unique is ultimately more sustainable than competing to be the best.
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1. Positioning your startup
Arielle Jackson is Marketer in Residence at First Round Capital where she works with portfolio founders on positioning and marketing strategy. Before that, she worked at Google and Square. In this interview, Jackson shares practical advice on:
How to position your business (based on a formula from former Google Head of Marketing and Communications Christopher Escher)
How to pick the right name for your company or product (four routes: descriptive, suggestive, evocative, empty vessel)
How to pull together branded assets in a comprehensive creative brief
How to prepare for launch (to arrive at clean, simple messaging on why people should care)
2. Differentiating your product
There are great books and posts (like the previous one) about product positioning, but not on how to actually design and build your product to be differentiated. This led Lenny Rachitsky to look at hundreds of companies to conclude that there are seven common ways to differentiate:
Be the cheapest
Be the highest quality
Be the most convenient
Be the safest
Sell something proprietary
Sell something that makes people feel great buying
Focus on a niche underserved market
Some companies have also found their way to offering multiple differentiators. Airbnb and Uber, for example, combine Cheapest + Proprietary supply (at least initially). Lenny also points out that you don’t absolutely need to have a differentiator, especially if you’re going after a new market or if you believe you can win by out-executing your competition. But you are going to have a much easier time if you do.
Read + for details and examples.
3. New travel tech fund targets European startups
A new venture fund has €100 million to invest in Seed-Series A European travel technology startups in €1 million to $10 million tickets. ROCH Ventures has been set up by Bobby Demri, an entrepreneur who sold his company to the Boston Consulting Group in 2017, and Ludger Kuebel-Sorger, senior partner emeritus at BCG. In this interview, Demri discusses why Europe needs a specialist travel tech fund, the focus on digital nomads, sustainability, corporate travel, and the high growth potential for travel and tourism.
4. Consumers prioritize travel spending supported by fintech services
An Amadeus study -Consumer travel spend priorities 2022- with 4,500 travelers from France, Germany, UK, US, and Singapore found that consumers prioritize travel spending supported by fintech services. 75% of respondents said they are likelier to choose a pay-by-installment option, 73% are more likely to pay attention to FX fees and costs associated with international travel, and 56% are more likely to choose a travel provider that lets them pay in their own currency with transparent FX fees.
5. NFTs could be the next evolution of airline ticketing
Oliver Ransom writes that the next development in air ticket technology will be a migration from electronic documents to NFTs and that this would help airlines grow revenue by enabling airlines and travelers to participate in a secondary market for tickets. Read +.
6. Qantas asks its executives to work as baggage handlers
Australia’s largest airline wants its executives to unload bags and drive luggage carts at least three days per week for the next three months. This is a great move that should be followed by other airlines and travel players scrambling to fill open positions. Many years ago, I worked in product development for Charles Schwab’s online brokerage division. Its founder and CEO, Charles Schwab, made a point to require all managers and executives to work in the call center and customer service when the company was going through peak times. These experiences were tremendously enlightening and allowed me to understand the business at a deeper level.
7. The state of US early-stage VC and Startups in 2Q 2022
Silicon Valley Bank and AngelList published a detailed report on the state of US VC investing and early-stage startups.
After an active 1Q22, the share of startups on AngelList that raised a round or exited in 2Q22 declined by 2.3 percentage points to 9.3%.
77.5% of startups that raised a round or exited in 2Q22 did so at a higher price than their previous round (vs. 83% in Q1).
Compared to 1Q22, median pre-seed and seed valuations were flat in 2Q22 at $10M and $20M, respectively, while Series A valuations jumped 6% to $70M, and Series B valuations fell 6% to $235M.
37% of rounds done used SAFEs.
Early-stage startup payroll spend grew by 14% between 4Q21 and 1Q22 but decreased by 3% growth from 1Q22 to 2Q22.
The average revenue growth between 4Q21 and 1Q22 was 28%. Between 1Q22 and 2Q22, it decreased by 5%.
8. Online travel planning is improving, according to the New York Times
The New York Times article on how travel players are making travel planning easier by refining searches, creating more informative maps, and streamlining loyalty programs. Mentioned in the article include Airbnb, Google, Skyscanner, Airdna, AirCover, Expedia, and Booking. Read +.
9. Summer travel humor
If you are a travel startup planning to raise your next round of capital, please contact me by simply replying to this email. I might be able to help.
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Travel Tech Essentialist job board (this is a different product from the Talent Collective)
There are currently 219 exciting jobs posted on the Travel Essentialist job board. Here are a few:
GetYourGuide, Engineering Manager, Supplier Inventory (Berlin)
GetYourGuide, Head of Site Merchandising (Berlin)
TravelPerk, Head of Community (Barcelona)
Amadeus, Director of Sales (Remote, Mexico City)
Kantox, Sales - Currency Management Specialist, Travel (Barcelona)
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