GETTING STARTED: StayTick is a membership-based hotel reservation platform
What’s your 30-second pitch to investors?
StayTick is a membership-based hotel reservation platform that allows you to book hotels at an exclusive price not available on any other website. StayTick helps you save time and money.
Describe both the business and technological aspects of your startup.
As a membership-based hotel booking platform, we help our members book their stays at really low prices and save a lot on their trips. At StayTick, we’ve built our own tech-house creating a solid foundation of connectivity with many chains, hotels and third parties to get the maximum number of rooms and properties available at each destination. Then our algorithm finds the available rooms, compares them with other OTAs, displays the lowest rates and calculates how much the user will save if they book on Staytick.com.
Give us your SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis of the company.
- Strengths: Knowledge of the team, expertise in travel, technology and finance, in addition to our previous experience in launching startups, successful fundraising, generating income in niche markets and business segments.
- Weaknesses: Membership-based hotel booking is a new concept for the end user, although there are many services with monthly and annual subscriptions around us like gyms, streaming services , electronic commerce, etc. But when it comes to travel, it’s still a new concept that needs to be publicized. We don’t have deep pockets like giant OTAs. We are a small and young team, and at the moment StayTick is only available in English and Spanish.
- Opportunities: Thanks to our technology and our platform, we are able to unlock the best prices for our customers, and the saving is really demonstrated from the first booking, therefore the number of new daily subscribers is increasing rapidly. Opening more markets in Europe will contribute to faster expansion. We are also considering adding other products, such as rental cars, transfers, cruises using the same technique and technology. We think there are a lot of great things to do, we’re super excited about it.
- Threats: Catastrophic scenes such as COVID-19, climate issues, drastic changes like what we are currently experiencing, economic crises, all of these will have an impact on our growth, which is why we would like to vary our range of products on offer to expand the customer base base and not depend on a single market or a single service.
What are the travel issues you are trying to alleviate from a customer and industry perspective?
Customers these days know when and where they would like to go, but price is still a key factor in the final decision. They spend long hours trying to get the best deal. We help our members book the hotel they want at really low prices and therefore save money. Once a member tries our tools, they stick with them and continue to book through us. Why pay more for the same room if you can get it a lot cheaper?
So you have the product, now how are you going to get a lot of customers?
We learned to choose which battles we could win. Obviously, we can’t compete with other OTAs that have huge budgets to spend on online marketing. It’s a very busy area, which is why we do it the old fashioned way – we do a lot of cold calling and partnering with groups, businesses, gyms, associations, communities, etc. We go directly to the customers who we think will use our service, we present our service and our tool to them and the value we bring to them.
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StayTick could be the perfect fit for many businesses who want to deliver great value to their customers – we can work with airlines, car rental companies, car rentals, etc. Many companies might offer Staytick membership to their customers as a bonus. to bond with their customers and make them happy.
Tell us what process you went through to establish a real need for your business and the size of the addressable market.
In December 2020, we took inspiration from the Amazon Prime business model, where customers pay to get service faster and get more benefits as well. Why not get around that and adapt to hotel reservations? Customers make an annual subscription and in exchange they will start saving from the first booking, and they will book again because the value is super clear and well demonstrated. Now with the global reopening, we expect the number of subscribers to increase and therefore overnight bookings will follow.
How and when will you make money?
We make money from subscriptions and we also take a share of every booking. According to our survey, average subscribers make two to three bookings per year with an average stay of five to seven nights.
What are the backgrounds and previous achievements of the founding team?
The two founders come from the travel industry:
- Mavi Garay – has been running his business as a boutique travel agency for 15 years with a solid background in operations and service contracts. She has successfully transformed the business from a traditional retail travel agency with an office to eight offices, working with leading clients providing high-end luxury services.
- Nabil Elshafaey – after working for several well-known travel brands such as Barcelo Group, Expedia and BeMyGuest in Singapore, launched Visit & Go, the first online marketplace for tours and activities in Arabic and also launched TRYPS, as a B2B distributor of tours and activities. The firm has grown very quickly, working with more than 360 partners such as Booking, Ctrip, Singapore airport, Wego, etc.
How did you approach diversity and inclusion within your company?
Our vision in this term is to offer equal opportunity to everyone by embracing their background, culture, sexual orientation or gender. Our startup is really well balanced – 50% of the workforce are women.
What has been the most difficult part of building the business so far?
It is always difficult to start a new project from scratch with limited funding and manpower. It takes longer to get them both, but what’s actually more difficult is to bring the idea or vision to life, translated into problem-solving tools and techniques.
Typically, travel industry startups face a pretty tough time to make an impact – so why are you going to be one of the lucky ones?
We see a real need and a gap in the market where StayTick could fit. As a small business, we can grow, learn and make decisions faster. We also approach our potential customers directly – we don’t rely on online marketing just because customers have become more sensitive to it and unless they really need your service, they will ignore your ad. Our goal is to generate the greatest possible positive impact, so that our clients become our ambassadors and recommend us to their networks, friends and family. The same happened to Discord once it first used it, people started promoting it in their social circles.
In a year, what state do you think your startup will be in?
We expect the volume of business to continue to grow and so will the number of subscribers, as the world continues to reopen.
What’s your endgame? (IPO, acquisition, growth and maintenance of the private sector, etc.)
We would like to add more services and products, have the best talents and crazy and creative engineers, open more markets, and finally every entrepreneur’s dream is to ring the Nasdaq, so ours will be no different.
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