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How Gekko is bridging the gap between inspiration and reservation

How Gekko is bridging the gap between inspiration and reservation

Background

Gekko is changing the way users select a hotel by bridging the gap between inspiration and reservation.  We are a hotel booking assistant that has built a number of tools for users to find easily a hotel that is spot on for them and for publishers to monetise their content.

Users can type the name of a hotel they like at the Gekko.com site and with our algorithm we find a selection of hotels that match their taste everywhere in the world. We also compare prices from 43 providers. People can find the best hotel for them and at great price.

Challenge

How to bridge with partners website? With Gekko Links online travel publishers' content inspires and encourages users to book recommended hotels.  However, there is a permanent break in the user journey.   To learn more about a hotel that appeals to them, a person needs to open new windows to start a search process (that's partially why 66% of bookings start on a search engine).

This prolongs a person's booking process and causes the publisher to loose their attention (as well as any potential revenue upside from a booking).  With Gekko Links we add an ecommerce and information layer over a site.  The user doesn't have to go elsewhere--we bring the information to them--and the publisher makes money whether the user books on their site or, later after having saved the hotel to the Gekko site.

Insight

Our core products are Gekko Links which we described above and our Hotel Recommendation.

The Gekko Links product is distinctive because it is able to identify hotel references, in a body of text, which are very ambiguous; in exact.   Hotels don't have a fixed name and users tend to abbreviate them.  For example, people write about "the Ritz" instead of "The Ritz-Carlton, New York."  We currently can identify over 200,00 hotels.

Our Hotel Recommendations is powered by a proprietary algorithm based on a market study of 7,558 consumers from USA, Germany, England, France and Spain to identify what criteria they considered when choosing a hotel.  We focus on hotel's characteristics, i.e personality ("the hotel that is right for you") instead of popularity ("users looking at this hotel also looked at these others").   A user can therefore ask Gekko to recommend hotels in Rio de Janeiro like the Benjamin Hotel in New York.

We also have a important complementary products such as price comparison (we compare rates for over 200,000 hotels across 43 hotel providers) and the shortlist (which allows users to save and share the hotels they are researching).

Strategy & Implementation

Currently, our business model is an affiliate model where we earn booking commission from OTAs.  We share the booking fee with the publishers using Gekko Links.  Future revenue streams include advertisement and sponsorship, as well as expansion to other e-commerce segments. We are already working with a partner who will apply Gekko Links to the automotive sector.

We also received two early-stage rounds of funding led by our founder, Dino van Es, a Dutch Internet entrepreneur, and a consortium led by Velocity Capital B.V.

Results

With Gekko Links, our key customers are large publishers or travel content such as lifestyle brands, guides and newspaper sites.  The open rate of Gekko Links varies from 3.5% to 7% depending on the product and the site it is on.  Gekko Links is currently running on Business Traveller (http://www.businesstraveller.com).

Very shortly, we will announce a partnership with a large publisher of travel content. We have also started to reach out to small and medium travel bloggers such as TKTK.

Future revenue streams include advertisement and sponsorship, as well as expansion to other e-commerce segments, meaning GEKKO Links will be used outside the travel sector. We are already working with a partner who will apply GEKKO Links to the automotive sector.

On April 7 UTalkMarketing will host its MI Expo - where there will be a chance to hear about brands, who like Gekko, are driving innovation in their sector. Click here to hear more and to get your ticket.

AJR
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