Startup pitch: Getaway books European city trips on the fly
Getaway analyzes more than 1 million European city break vacations every day and identifies the most attractive offers, based on price, availability, and quality features.
The startup, still in beta, focuses on weekend breaks, which it calls the fastest-growing segment in European online travel today. Based on Pfalzburger Strasse in Berlin, it has a slick logo, graphic design, and user interface.
As a side note: its team of developers won Tnooz’s hackathon in Hamburg this past October.
A Q&A with co-founder & CTO Johannes Engl:
Tell us how you founded the company, why and what made you decide to jump in and create the business.
In spring 2015 our product manager Christian once again spent half the night planning a weekend trip. This time he wanted to go to Barcelona.
It took him several hours to find a satisfying combination from the masses of flights, hotels, and travel offers.
Whenever he found a suitable hotel offer, there were no cheap corresponding flights available, or he researched a super flight deal, but the hotel rates for the particular weekend were far too high.
When he had finally found a suitable flight/hotel combination, his sweetheart had other plans on that date.
He thought, there must be a way to substitute this manual and bothersome process of booking a citytrip with digital technology. That night, the Getaway idea was born.
At Getaway we inspire our users with amazing citytrips. By creating smart travel technology, we simplify online travel.
Amazing hassle-free citytrips, accessible in seconds — that’s what our startup does! We analyze travel data and dig for the hidden city-trip treasures out there.
Size of the team, names of founders, management roles and key personnel?
At the moment we are a team of six. Johannes and Till are developers, Boris is our designer, Christian does the product management, Sebastian is our specialist for marketing, and Matthias is responsible for business development.
Our founders are Matthias Reinholz (CEO) and Johannes Engl (CTO).
Getaway is currently self-funded and we are in talks with investors to get a seed round.
Estimation of market size?
Our marketing is focused on citytrips. This market is the fastest-growing segment in online travel today. We started in Germany and plan to enter additional European countries in 2016.
We do not position ourselves in competition with the “typical” online travel agencies. Instead of providing a search function, we inspire our users with amazing citytrips. Some people say, our closest competitors are travel deal websites, e.g. Secret Escapes.
But what makes us special is that we don’t acquire our own flight or hotel inventory. Instead we use technology to analyze millions of existing flight and hotel offers to identify hidden city-trip gems for our users.
Revenue model and strategy for profitability?
Currently, we utilize a commission model for trips sold. Our strategy for profitability relies on multiplying our outreach and impact with technology. That way, we can realize a highly competitive and efficient cost structure.
What problem does the business solve?
Existing traditional travel websites do an amazing job, when it comes to planning and booking our annual vacation or some other extensive tour.
It’s just incredible to have all these travel options available when you want to combine different destinations, stays, and attractions in one trip.
But this kind of planning and booking is just not suitable when it comes to a few days on a citytrip!
With all of Europe at our hands, we should be able to jump on a plane and touch down in a new city every other weekend.
In practice, however, it’s not that easy if we need days in online research in advance. And honestly, would you choose an average offer if you knew that just another hour or so of perusing the internet would find you an amazing offer?
Probably not. Getaway is finding that amazing offer for you.
How did the initial idea evolve and were there changes/any pivots along the way in the early stages?
As we are still in an early stage; Getaway still faces some pivoting in its focus on certain features. Yet the underlying major idea to provide inspiration with exceptional and convenient citytrips has never been questioned.
The initial idea evolved from two sources: we are frequent travellers and we love technology. Our own experience of hassling with the overload of options that the internet provides us with marked the beginning of Getaway.
Why should people or companies use the business?
Anyone who loves to do citytrips should use Getaway. Getaway users can stop searching, because we constantly find the best citytripoffers for our users.
To provide the best possible user experience for convenient and amazing citybreaks, empowered by cuttingedge technology, is what gets us up in the morning.
What is the strategy for raising awareness and the customer/user acquisition (apart from PR)?
We expand our advanced technology into marketing. Our platform is able to target discovered travel opportunities accurately into performance marketing channels.
Where do you see the company in three years time and what specific challenges do you anticipate having to overcome?
In three years, Getaway aims to be the leading platform for short breaks in Europe. To achieve this, we need to foster a culture of constant innovation. Excellence in technology development will be key to success.
What is wrong with the travel, tourism and hospitality industry that it requires a startup like yours to help it out?
Looking at customer loyalty and look-to-book ratio, online travel seems to have some major issues. We believe the reasons are the widespread focus, overwhelming offers and the “sell fast” approach of most travel websites.
At Getaway we are focusing on inspiring our users with offers that are relevant for them and that fits their specific needs. That is how we are achieving a high user satisfaction and long-lasting relationship.
What other technology company (in or outside of travel) would you consider yourselves most closely aligned to in terms of culture and style… and why?
We are not really comparing ourselves to other companies. Every company has its own specialties and characteristics.
Of course, we have some idols in terms of company culture, office space etc. A company that shows an amazing power in constantly and radically developing its culture is Zappos.
Which company would be the best fit to buy your startup?
Not sure, if we are already able to talk about selling our startup. We are just starting to pursue our vision and make our dream come true.
Talking about companies we’d love to work with, we emphasize the importance of a common understanding of purpose and technology.
We are not building an app and selling goods afterwards. We are setting up a company that develops TravelTech to innovate this industry.
Describe your startup in three words?
Innovating travel inspiration.
We were impressed by Getaway’s developer team, which won our October hackathon in Hamburg in the “best small team” category.
The team had 24 hours to create a prototype that found a smart solution to address the problem of planning and booking a city trip with a group of friends.
The developer team’s prototype continuously analyzed flights from IATA’s just-released New Distribution Capability API, as well as hotel data from the Hotelbeds API. A user could then input details about the group that is traveling, such as the number of participants and their departure airports.
Based on these insights, the tool combined the flights and accommodation data to calculate the price for every possible trip. It inspired the user with only the most attractive getaways for their traveling group’s specific needs and preferences. They could then invite their friends via MakeItSocial’s API, which makes it possible for each person to pay their own share for accommodation and flights.
The winning prototype shared the values and beliefs of Getaway’s actual proposition: trip inspiration, a simplified user experience, and rapid development work.
We’re equally impressed with Getaway’s proposition, available for your review via its invite-only platform.
There may be a couple of pivots on the road ahead, but the Getaway team seems to have what it takes to create a successful travel startup. We’ll be eager to see what Getaway gets up to next.