055 – Yannis Moati of Hotels by Day – Reimagining Hotel Revenue

Yanni Moati

Day-use hotel rooms with early check-in as a hospitality marketing and revenue hack…

Yanni MoatiYannis Moati, CEO of Hotels by Day (gives travelers a comfortable daytime hotel room for half the price of an overnight stay), joins John Matson and Bess Chapman in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser.

In this episode:

  • The biggest opportunity hotel revenue management – the idea of reimagining a hotel
  • Revenue management is a new science, becoming complex
  • New orthodoxies in hotel revenue creation being developed regularly
  • Conversation has changed from disinterest to wanting to discussYanni Moati
  • A niche play in nascent sector
  • Flexibility of hotel consumption, responding to an on demand society
  • A rigid check-in/out schedule doesn’t work for today’s society
  • Protocol, tech, marketing funnel to become more flexible one step at a time, because it’s a big operation
  • Hotels don’t see this as hourly play – more like a block of time
  • Types of hotels that Hotels by Day works with, segmenting customer base based on hotels they have
  • Sweet spot are 4 stars, then 3 stars, then 2 stars if they have a record of accomplishmentYanni Moati
  • Customer acquisition is costly
  • A marketing hack to acquire new customers
  • Growing organically
  • Experience is the key in a day stay
  • Being on Shark Tank
  • Why Hotels by Day will be the winners by allowing hospitality to join when they are ready
  • Barely scratched surface of possible demand, giving it time to grow
  • Part of sharing economy, using idle space and making use of it in a different way
  • Technology doesn’t allow flexibility and agility to follow trends of modern society in hospitality, don’t have the right tools
  • And the reinvigoration of the soul by the sea
  • The main drive of being able to help people

054 – Chris Dankberg of Viasat – Chasing a 700mph Plane with WiFi

The real story behind WiFi on flights with Viasat…

Chris Dankberg, who runs Partnerships for Viasat (a global communications company that believes everyone and everything in the world can be connected) joins John Matson and Bess Chapman in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser.

In this episode:

  • How Viasat is about solving really hard problems
  • Why WiFi is slow on flights
  • Prior to 5 years ago,ViaSat was about WiFi via satellite for government and private air services
  • People got used to texting and checking sites that were urgent for destination (weather, hotels, etc.)
  • The growth of market for Viasat’s tech , high capacity satellites over different frequency bands enabled differently, market wasn’t ready
  • Why WiFi on planes is so expensive
  • Allocating capacity on an as-needed basis
  • Unprecented bandwidth economics
  • The abiity that you could hand off seamlessly from ground to air started being palatable
  • The opportunity waited for Viasat to launch a satellite
  • Demand wasn’t forecasted correctly, so there wasn’t enough supply for demand
  • Started with business travelers with expense accounts
  • Battery life on laptops got better, people started using phones
  • Something not considered was that the whole plane would use wifi
  • Tech is evolving, organizing data on what is important to customers how they used it
  • Second and third screen use and solving that need
  • Pain point – trains – slower with more tunnels, different angle to sky
  • On the early side of making online video streaming real with companies like Amazon
  • Disconnecting when traveling because of little kids demanding full attention
  • Trips that changed Dankberg’s life, created big decisions

053 – Thomas Sparico of Brand New Matter and Gillian Morris of HitList – Venture Capital in Travel

Venture Capital in Travel

The state of travel, the explosion of travel technology, venture capital, and the future of the industry from the perspective of investors in the travel space…

Venture Capital in TravelThomas Sparico, Founder/Managing Partner of Brand New Matter and Gillian Morris, Founder of HitList [Episode 33] join John Matson, Bess Chapman, and guest host Brandon McKenzie for a MouthMedia Network Live event recorded in front of a live audience at Experience by Knotel, an interactive space located in the heart of Noho in New York City (666 Broadway) designed to showcase the experience of working in a flexible, adaptable, always energized environment. Sponsored by Knotel – Your agile business deserves an agile space. Knotel will find, customize, and operate your ideal office while you focus on your business. Discover more at www.knotel.com

In this episode:

  • The fundraising landscape in travel, how it feels like someone else is getting all the money
  • A lot of investors have been burned in the travel industryVenture Capital in Travel
  • Location matters such as NY vs. SF
  • Knowing where to look, right people to talk to
  • B-to-B, B-to-C , and is B-to-C is the graveyard?
  • Liking people, liking business, taking data drven justifiable approach
  • Developing strategic and meaningful relationships
  • What Brand New Matter looks for in a company and founders
  • Strategic vs. nonstrategic money
  • Taking dumb money and how it affects a cap table
  • Q and A

Thomas Sparico is the Founder & Managing Partner of Brand New Matter (BNM) Ventures. BNM Ventures invests in pre-seed and seed stage companies. His current investments include Leaflink, Bizly, VenueBook, Seatboost, AirportSherpa, LYNQ, Beachy and Buster. He is an advisor to several travel industry companies including Rocketrip and Curacity. Tom is a career entrepreneur, inventor, operator and investor with 22 years of experience. He was part of the founding team at priceline.com and a named inventor on over 100 patents at Walker Digital Corp. He was the founder and CEO of Internet Travel Enterprises, led the acquisition and turnaround of Hickory Travel and the turnaround and subsequent sale of ECS to Onyx Centersource.

Gillian Morris is the founder and CEO of Hitlist, named one of the 50 Best Apps of 2016 by TIME. Before entering the start-up world, Gillian worked as a consultant, journalist, and educator in Turkey, China, the Gulf states, and Syria. Her work has appeared in/on the New York Times, Harvard Business Review, Buzzfeed, CNN, CNBC, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and LifeHacker. She is a proud mentor with the School of Leadership Afghanistan and Gaza Sky Geeks and serves on the board of Data4America, a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank dedicated to bringing data and conversations to advance the understanding of policy.



052 – Ned Horneffer of Romeo Power Technology – Powering the Future of Travel

Romeo Power

Lithium battery-powered travel…

Romeo PowerNed Horneffer, Director of Business Development for Romeo Power Technology (creators of the world’s most energy-dense battery packs) joins John Matson and Bess Chapman in the MouthMedia Network studio powered by Sennheiser.

In this episode:

  • Romeo Power Technology is counting on that electrical is the future of transportation
  • Electrification will take over all forms of transportation, batteries tech will increase
  • The challenge of being able to retrofit vehicle with batteries
  • Startups can move quickly, they are really sold on lithium and electrificationRomeo Power
  • Larger players, the secret is to find out how serious they are
  • Developing and getting a proof of concept for a fleet of vehicles
  • Regional transportation need so great, could affect regulation
  • Will technology affect consumer behavior, or will consumer need push technology development and adoption
  • Will people know how to handle it?
  • Flying cars
  • Influencing regulation as a brand
  • UL certification important
  • How battery power for aircraft can open up airports with noise restrictions
  • Marine sector is off and running
  • Norwegian strength
  • Battery-run cruise ships?
  • The danger of batteries and firesRomeo Power
  • Level of confidence in safety, tech is at a point that if you build batteries the right way they will never explode, single cell fault tolerance and pack construction avoid chain reactions
  • Punctures are a primary danger
  • Transportation is a means to an end
  • Appreciating the world is big when things go wrong with travel

051 – Travel Tech Infrastructure – Thinking Forward

Travel Disruption Summit

A fireside chat on innovation between representatives of two of the most forward thinking travel groups…

Travel Disruption Summit

Photo credit: Eva Cruz, Crouching Tiger LLC

Rashesh Jethi (SVP Engineering for Americas & Head of Innovation for Airlines for the world’s largest GDS, Amadeus) and Bess Chapman (Operating Principal for JetBlue Technology Ventures) discuss travel tech infrastructure, innovation, and possibilities at the Travel Disruption Summit presented by Voyager HQ, and sponsored by Amadeus and Fareportal.

In this episode:

  • What AI means for the travel industry
  • How everything has changed with hyper-cheap hyper-computing
  • Used to depend on massive investments for AI, and now it simply requires a lot of data and smart people
  • How machine learning sit on top of that, what it means when airlines and other travel business starts really knowing customers
  • Machine learning is one discipline of AI, and it means you feed computer data, makes sense of data, make more personalized recommendations, much potential in marketing
  • How it is a challenge that many players are at different maturity in technology stacks
  • Many are moving to open APIs to encourage growth and innovation

    Travel Disruption Summit

    Photo credit: Eva Cruz, Crouching Tiger LLC

  • Regulation issues an inhibitor to innovation, but most regulation is to keep us safe
  • Be respectful of regulation that’s there
  • GDPR an example
  • What it means that not all travel providers can keep up with changes at the same pace
  • Antiquated innovation all around
  • The biggest white space for disruption in airports
  • Why airports will be the malls of the future
  • Airports can be an oasis of commerce and relaxation
  • Prescreening and biometrics, making screening fast track, frictionless
  • Identifying you as a traveler, then providing you a contextual experience and a reference to what is available around you
  • Amadeus believes in tapping into the creative energy of anyone, supporting innovation
  • Overhyped technology (personal opinion) is blockchain
  • Bags as a huge white space, RFID, and more
  • How NDC change Amadeus’ current setup, and the next evolution in standard with a lot of interest from customers
  • AR and VR in the travel space, ideal use-cases, and why they could just become another screen we get used to
  • Using VR to book trips and for in-flight entertainment, shopping, training – and what are the challenges?
  • A lot of opportunity for companies to help other companies make money
  • What is looked for by Amadeus venture fund

050 – Justa Lujwangana of Curious on Tanzania – Accessing Africa

All inclusive, authentic and immersive experiences in Tanzania…

Justa Lujwangana, founder of Curious on Tanzania (unforgettable, immersive, transformative experiences in Tanzania curated and led by locals), joins John Matson and Bess Chapman in the MouthMedia  Network studios powered by Sennheiser.

In this episode:

  • Justa Lujwangana on being curious means search, dig deeper, not just a typical visit
  • Putting together guest logistics
  • Also an operator
  • Impetus of company, out of her own curiosities about her homeland
  • Africa offering lot of experiential marketing, like archeology, and big venue space bring South African experience alive
  • Having a team across the world while working from NYC
  • Giving back to local economy, building something sustainable
  • Experiences such as ooking classes, dancing, meeting one of more than 120 tribes
  • Zanzabar beach
  • Marketing strategies
  • Giraffe as a must-see animal

Curious on Tanzania is run by proud Tanzanians working together who are committed to leading and creating comprehensive, thematic travel experiences that make a positive, sustained difference to destinations and local people throughout Tanzania. They call this experiential travel – travel that goes deeper into the lives of those whom we all visit, and creates lasting relationships and true cultural exchange.

049 – Andrea Martinez of Boom Hospitality – Next Level Hotels

Boom Hospitality

Creative tactics and best business practices for hotels…

Boom HospitalityAndrea Martinez, President of Boom Hospitality (a hospitality consultancy firm helping boutique hotels, independent hotels, and F&B operations, open, grow, or convert their businesses with the use of creative tactics and best business practices) joins John Matson and Bess Chapman in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser.

In this episode:

  • The crucial need to properly understand your market
  • Boom Hospitality working mostly with boutique and out-of-the-box hotels
  • Tech in modern hospitality is so important, but not every guest is the same, simplicity is important
  • Mirrors with digital concierge, interactive maps, fun, equipped with things guests want and will use
  • The need to only adapt tech in a way you can adapt
  • The boutique traveler is looking for something very specific
  • Martinez is living a dream job, started in non profitsBoom Hospitality
  • How we make development/construction more sustainable, less destructive on the environment and actually help the environment
  • Building a hotel within a mountain in a way that doesn’t hurt things around it
  • How it is important that social media and marketing about a project must be part of the conversation from the beginning and a priority, design, construction management guest experience, PR
  • Special cookies Martinez is obsessed with for a snack
  • An approach to driving to a hotel or a destination?Boom Hospitality
  • Methods of discovery – seeing online, Instagram, website, how common each method is
  • People wanting to go somewhere they saw and then researched
  • The need to be careful about defining local experiences
  • Bringing true authentic local experiences by partnering with and creating alliances with local destinations
  • Martinez’s experience in Latin America, Florida, bigger cities in US, Toronto
  • Politics plays a big role in how one develops because permits are different

048 – Kerri Zeil of Amadeus North America – That White Glove Startup Approach


Partnering with the No. 1 travel technology partner, Amadeus, dedicated to helping travel companies launch, grow and succeed…

AmadeusKerri Zeil, Head of Amadeus for Startups, Online Travel Group, Amadeus North America, Inc. (the leading provider of IT solutions to the global tourism and travel industry — Amadeus for Startups provides technology, expertise and guidance to support travel startups throughout their journey) joins John Matson in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser.

In this episode:

  • Zeil reveals the substantial work Amadeus does in travel and understanding what startups need and what brands like Amadeus can do to help
  • Globalizing the startup program, how Zeil is in charge of the Americas
  • How Amadeus has a lot to offer, expertise, tech, info from customers already supported, how Amadeus can grow its own business through startups
  • No specific business model is larger than the next
  • Travel tech startups offer opportunities to scale and provide value
  • Amadeus originally looked at the program narrow lens, and it has has gown enormously
  • The program has grown year after year, created a partner community to add value, each program looked at uniquely, providing value across the board
    Expertise in various areas of travel and working to harness that, and how internal partners want to help
  • Help startups launch at scale
  • High quality startups coming into the program and being able to be choosier to come in and can rise to the top, while helping virtually anyone coming in the door
  • How Amadeus doesn’t invest or take equity
  • When Amadeus cannot help some companies with APIs or tech solutions, but that company might fall into the area of venture partnerships and then introduce to that internal partnerAmadeus
  • Looking for companies even outside of core values, but can find ways to plug in that can enhance the business, that can bring value within tech stacks, exploring blockchain a bit, in-destination activity,
  • Axa as a great startup story, another is Freebird (a very unique idea) which developed into a partner with Amadeus
  • Is there a secret sauce possible at Amadeus for working with startups (think white glove approach)
  • Amadeus is located in Spain, how it interacts with the Americas
  • Pitching in front of The Dragons Den
  • Getting calls from around the world from people who want to help
  • How Amadeus created a blueprint for people for this program to work globally, leaders of company started to recognize this is happening everywhere,
  • Bankok and Singapore are big spots
  • A cultural shift
  • Commonality across startups, enthusiasm, the travel industry as a whole isn’t an industry to get into, infrastructure moves at snails pace, complicated and regulated, can be frustrating and difficult to understand, in a discovery phase for info and data to be even do diligence on Amadeus’ part, give startups some hope
  • The industry has attention on, and is engaging, startups to help dig out from technological past, recognizing the need for advancement
  • Why the travel industry is likely in for the long haul in commitment and funding, albeit cautious and focused approach, at a crossroads of the old travel industries and innovators
  • The need to not disrupt cash cow at companies while getting out of same things that keep happening – that’s the right path
  • Continuing to shape the future of travel

047 – Corey Angelo of Wanderfuel – Traveling Well


Health food and wellness content for travelers…

WanderfuelCorey Angelo, Founder/CEO of Wanderfuel (carefully curated, seasonally rotating boxes of organic products alongside lifestyle content that educates and supports well-being while traveling) joins John Matson and Bess Chapman in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser.

In this episode:

  • How wellness touches us at all times, taking care of yourself
  • Educating people with a great content experience, and how it makes travel better
  • Bringing together healthy snack and amenity kits in environmentally friendly packaging
  • Wanderfuel‘s core ethos includes nourish, relax, detoxWanderfuel
  • Meditation, podcasts, intent to become like a Netflix-like safe list of things tailored for type and length of travel
  • The biggest wellness snafu on the road and being disconnected from regular wellness routines, committing to rituals and practices each day
  • Maintaining rituals on the road
  • Something about being on the road where you let go of being healthiest — how do you get people to carry it with you?
  • Coaching yourself, how you’ll feel after, and combining it with interesting and fun content experiences
  • The travel industry is investing in its consumer
  • Working closely to scale offering including with American Airlines, wellness zones in major airports, livening up atmospheres, and working with strong partners
  • Angelo’s “Zen place”, and pole vaulting
  • Inspiration and a moment of exhale when training for a marathon
  • The moment it all clicked
  • Staying curious, exploring more

046 – Felix Wunderlich and Greginald Spencer of mypostcard.com – Sharing and Changing the World One Postcard at a Time


Personalized photo postcards, greeting cards and cards created online and sent on the go from anywhere…

mypostcard.comFelix Wunderlich (Head of Business Development) and Greginald Spencer (Office Manager) of mypostcard.com (photos sent as postcards worldwide) join John Matson, Pavan Bahl, and Bess Chapman in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser.

In this episode:

  • When does one need to send a personalized postcard
  • What should reaction be/feeling – happiness
  • Physical interaction instead of digital, something tangible makes a real impactmypostcard.com
  • The text looks like real handwriting
  • Process to use — download app, upload photo, the ability to have an envelope because of sensitive photos
  • Participation in a German accelerator
  • The app saves a lot of time
  • Friction on the marketing side, looking at customer lifetime value
  • Most customer acquisition via Google Adwords
  • Growth efforts via universities, building awareness
  • The ability to partner with major social platforms like Instagram
  • Whether content changed that customers are sharing, and is it relating to larger trends in the travel industry?
  • The shift from digital to physical, sentimental valuemypostcard.com
  • Creative marketing, and a song, changing the world with a postcard
  • The path to become a travel lifestyle brand
  • Spreading the feeling of that moment, and how to share that feeling and create buzz
  • How a postcard is something you share in person with visitors
  • Partnerships and collabrorations including prisons
  • Winning on the Apollo stage
  • A prior career in hospitality managementmypostcard.com
  • How Greginald got to NYC
  • Every season is Ramen season
  • And someday— Europe as a home?