019 – Michal Alter of Visit.org – Good Will Traveling

Social impact travel experiences…

Michal Alter, Co-Founder and CEO at visit.org (building the world’s leading platform for social impact travel experiences, allowing millions of users to discover, support, and interact with ‘do-good’ organizations both virtually and in-person – (profile)) joins Pavan Bahl, John Matson and Peter Crysdale in the MouthMedia Studios, powered by Sennheiser.

A heavy social mission, surviving the early years, and boots on the ground

Alter discusses local and authentic activities while traveling, and how they will benefit each local community via dollars spent, how she had privilege to travel for prolonged periods of time and had enough time to randomly meet and interact with local people, inspiring the company. And why a heavy social mission, how Alter then became a director for refugee affairs, then serving community of 100k refugees and immigrants. How Visit.org is in 76 countries, aiming for 2,000 experiences, and how they got a crazy cool URL. Existing as a for-profit social enterprise, how early success and recognition allowed the company to survive while cultivating users and experiences, having boots on the ground and vigorous online research and approach, and all providers are local non-profits and social ventures.

Continue Reading

018 – Alex Shashou of ALICE – Here’s the Story of an App Named ALICE

Hotel operations connection platform with ALICE…

Alex Shashou, Co-Founder & President of ALICE (an operations system for every department in a hotel, connecting staff and guests – (bio)), joins Pavan Bahl and John Matson at the MouthMedia Network Studios.

Building partnerships, tracking and transitioning work, and the market opportunity

Shashou shares the biggest growth transition of ALICE, how is addresses the last frontier of travel, allows all department to communicate, gives guests access, connects different software systems, and how ALICE is building great partnerships with big names. Working primarily with high end 3 star to 5 star hotels, how it was started 2012 and moved from a guest app to a back end player that changed the business model, how the open API is utilized, tracking employee work, transitioning work from shift to shift, that hotels are not technology companies but a service company, and how boutique brands are building own guest experience and their own apps but using ALICE for the operational complexity. Now at 500 locations serviced, in Europe and North America, more than 150,000 non-chain hotels are the market, with a focus on hotels big enough to matter but not so small not to matter.

Continue Reading

017 – Brian Harniman and Krish Jagirdar of Brand New Matter – Better, Stronger, Faster

Strategic advisory and venture capital firm with Brand New Matter…

Brian Harniman (Co-Founder and Managing Director, and member of founding team at Priceline – (bio)) and Krish Jagirdar (Vice President – (bio)) of Brand New Matter (a New York-based strategic advisory and venture capital firm that helps companies at any stage grow smarter and faster, starting with signature 30-Day Deep Dives), join Pavan Bahl and John Matson at the MouthMedia Network Studios.

Priceline and Robot Dog, exploring the meaning of success, and Krispy Kreme stories

Harniman reviews how he started in travel 20 years ago, recruited by a name your price company, and stayed for 10 years — as part of the founding team of Priceline. Jagirdar shares his background in film and finance, then working at top tier design firm Dom and Tom (and what Dom and Tom has in common with Priceline), then had own digital marketing agency Robot Dog, and learned the travel and hospitality industry building an app PlusMore. How Brand New Matter couples advisory and investment services, the 30 Day Deep Dive, exploring the meaning of success, collaboration rooted in empathy, a tolerated failure rate, help with extracting value and supporting that, helping companies dubug your company for a better foundation, defining success, risk assessment, perhaps a capital deployment, being specific to the business in the deep collaboration, and verticals such as liquor and spirits, travel, and health and wellness. And, everyone has a Krispy Kreme doughnut story.

Continue Reading

016 – Joe DiTomaso of AllTheRooms – Accommodating Everyone

Accommodation search engines…

Joe DiTomaso, Co-Founder and CEO of AllTheRooms (the largest and most complete accommodation search engine combining sites like Expedia, Airbnb, and 400+ other sites you may not have even heard of yet, offering more than 900,000 rooms worldwide – (bio)), joins Pavan Bahl, John Matson and Peter Crysdale at the MouthMedia Network studios.

Cataloging every room, selling analytics, and how travel ranks in Google

DiTomaso discusses aggregating and cataloging every room on the planet, from a hammock in the Caribbean to a 3 bedroom flat in London, how the consumer ends up seeing inventory and hotels and paying the “highest big”, how that’s only 1% of the market, being a B to B solution, and offering a white level B to B to C solution, allowing interactive search connecting with events, selling the analytics, including all of airbnb, how the travel space is Google’s third highest paying vertical vs. insurance and finance, and how companies like Trivago and their ad word spend are crushing competition.

Continue Reading

015 – Sarah Pallack of BPCM – Mapping Travel Public Relations

Public relations for travel with BPCM…

Sarah Pallack, Director of Travel PR for BPCM (a fully integrated global public relations agency brand building and communications in fashion, beauty, travel, lifestyle and luxury markets – (bio)), joins joins Pavan Bahl , Samantha Shankman and John Matson  at the MouthMedia Network Studios.

Adding travel to fashion, the push to digital, and Twitter vs. Instagram

Pallack shares how she runs travel wine and spirits department, and the work with hotel brands and properties, destinations from regions to islands, primarily working with luxury clients because they have budgets to do interesting things, and the experiences they offer to guests and journalists and stories to tell are interesting. How she came into a fashion house and started a travel arm, and the founders are world travelers. Doing a project for a countries like Morocco, how people talk about traveling as destination-based instead of property-based. Doing creative and edgy things and the way travel is talked about is different, more global. How traditional PR involves a lot of digital, why broadcast is difficult for luxury brands, working with social influencers as a lot of one-offs because of individual travel experiences and why that is preferred, using Instagram a lot because of the visual aspect of travel, and why Twitter can be a challenge due to language, Pinterest is strong, and whether Snapchat will be a “thing” with influencers, how Instagram Stories helps, Snapchat vs. Instagram, and being able to see what happens on Instagram with a map of activity. The way print is still the holy grail of what brands want, while the actual value and malleability of digital is much higher.

Continue Reading

014 – Jason Shames of Skipper – The Ninth Room Where It Happens

Automating hotel room bookings for groups and events with Skipper…

Jason Shames, CEO and CoFounder of Skipper (a marketplace to help groups and events find hotel rooms – (bio)) joins joins Pavan Bahl , Samantha Shankman and John Matson at the MouthMedia Network Studios.

A successful company pivots, 9 rooms matters, and an RFP platform

Shames shares the genesis of the company as Jetaport six years ago, originally making planning trips “suck less”, and team-members working for private companies building mobile apps, having some success but seeing transactional issues with groups as an offline experience for above 8 rooms. Weddings as an example, a proprietary algorithm force ranks hotels, and building out their own RFP platform.

Continue Reading

013 – Eli Ostreicher – Part 2 – The Difference

Pt. 2 – Serial entrepreneurialism and giving back…

Eli Ostreicher, serial entrepreneur, motivational speaker and Founder/CEO to eleven travel and luxury companies (2x INC 500 #1 in Travel) including Regal WingsRegal JetsRegal CardRegal SolutionsGeeFiOne Bag TagGTTFP, Regal Engraving (bio) joins Pavan Bahl, John Matson and Marc Raco for Part 2 of a raw and candid interview — along with some sushi – about travel, entrepreneurialism, being successful “in spite of”, and “saying no to political correctness” at the MouthMedia Network studios.

Giving and sharing, Best Buy, and getting feedback

Ostreicher reveals why he does things for others and gives of his time and knowledge as well as financially at times, the importance of sharing wisdom, why he stresses that he’s accomplished so much by age 33, his view on religion, whether and how he decompresses, why Best Buy is his “drug” of choice, the iPod V1, why he chose travel as his business focus, why he is taking notes every step of the way, the power of Google Survey, and the revenue prospect and rationale of Regal Engravers.

Continue Reading

012 – Eli Ostreicher – Part 1 – Rags to Riches, Narrow and Deep

Pt. 1 – Successful  travel and luxury entrepreneurialism and making a difference…

Eli Ostreicher, serial entrepreneur, motivational speaker and Founder/CEO to eleven travel and luxury companies (2x INC 500 #1 in Travel) including Regal WingsRegal JetsRegal CardRegal SolutionsGeeFiOne Bag TagGTTFP, Regal Engraving (bio) joins Pavan Bahl, John Matson and Marc Raco for Part 1 of a raw and candid interview — along with some sushi – about travel, entrepreneurialism, being successful “in spite of”, and “saying no to political correctness” at the MouthMedia Network studios.

A rags to riches journey to success at 33, One Bag Tag and Regal Engraving, and an uncle rescued

Ostreicher brings sushi, reveals why he went into the travel industry, his rags to riches journey that came from a lot of pain, being successful in against all odds, how focusing in one industry led to success and being narrow and deep, why Monday is the best day, and heading in direction of luxury instead of travel. The revolutionary idea of the One Bag Tag to eliminate all paper luggage tags. LVMH as a client, Regal Engraving as the newest company and the plan for 55 luxury engraving kiosks with master engravers in malls worldwide, largely by referral by other retailers, two years of talks with Visa, targeting the 1%, the Regal Collection of companies, Regal Wings (first company) and Regal Jets, and the rescue of his uncle Jacob Ostreicher.

Continue Reading

011 – Gene Quinn of Tnooz – The News and The New of Travel

Travel industry news and analysis with Gene Quinn of Tnooz…

Gene Quinn, Co-founder of Tnooz (a news website focused on news and analysis about travel technology – looking at marketing, systems, devices, distribution, social media, startups – (bio)), joins Pavan Bahl, John Matson and Peter Crysdale at the MouthMedia Network studio at Voyager HQ.

The birth of Tnooz, 800 startup pitches, and mobile is the future

Quinn reviews Tnooz as an eight-year old brand created in depth of a recession, to cover digital travel economy, resulting in a B-to-B media company. How the industry thinks of itself when covering itself. The digital travel economy, innovation through startups (which mean disruption), running more than 800 startup pitches, looking at systems. How he’s excited about mobile, and started a business three years before Facebook started. Mobile vs. mobile first, vs. mobile-centric, how a lot of companies have created incubators, and looking at global distribution companies like Amadeus.

Continue Reading

010 – Diego Saez-Gil of bluesmart – Travel Packed with Smarts

Smart luggage and Internet of Things travel products with Bluesmart…

Diego Saez-Gil, Co-Founder and Chairman of bluesmart, a company offering a suitcase that tracks itself, auto-locks, and charges devices – (bio)) joins Pavan Bahl, John Matson and Peter Crysdale at the MouthMedia Network studio at Voyager HQ.

Company origins from a passion for travel, first to market, and the biggest challenge

Saez-Gil discusses his origins in Argentina, how backpacking around Europe created a passion for travel, leading to travel company on of the first mobile apps to book reservation from phone, WeHostels, the decision to create a smart connected suitcase with GPS, charging and tracking, weight sensors, digital locking, launched through an extremely successful crowd-funding campaign, raising a large amount of capital, and building a global brand bringing innovation into travel goods industry. Creating the first major suitcase innovation since adding wheels decades ago, the biggest hurdle was in R and D and creating reliable location tracking from anywhere in the world, which was a major feature resulting in funding it.

Being the best, learning from mistakes, and the TSA lock

The market, and how bluesmart is creating defenses for a competitive edge, how it’s good that there are other innovators in space, how “is this is something people want” has moved to “how are you different”. How the focus now is on being the best product with best design and materials, and the battle is with themselves. Whether bluesmart is a luxury move vs. a change in the way people travel, the credibility of having a previous acquired company, previous mistakes including not thinking of the company and the roadmap enough, and being too focused on making the product. The in-house development team, integrated with Magento, and selling on Amazon. Trends idea of the Internet of Things, an API integration with Uber, and the goal of making the journey as enjoyable as the destination. A TSA approved lock for master key, digital plus mechanical, to avoid breaking it to open it. Making sure everything is compliant, and the timeline of a one year development plus nine months to get to shipment of 10,000 units, How traveling abroad is important for many countries and the weight feature is important. Plus, several big developments coming soon.

The weirdest travel location, first companies, and brothers in the jungle

Personal questions in Off the Beaten Path covers the weirdest place Saez-Gil has ever been, robot stores, selling drawings and party tickets, starting a bakery, a memorable trip with brothers that ends up in the Amazon jungle, and reason to travel more.

References:

Amadeus

The bluesmart marketing video