Create a Niche Accommodations Website at BookingMarkets

June 12, 2012

2:00 pm

If you think AirBnB, Priceline or Couchsurfing are the greatest ideas ever and want to emulate their business models, now you can – with San Francisco- and Bogota-based startup BookingMarkets.

Founded by Paige Brown, a travel industry veteran as founder of Tripeezy, Alex Torrenegra and Leonardo Suarez, BookingMarkets provides custom niche accommodations websites quickly and affordably.

“We are breaking barriers to entry for travel industry entrepreneurs who want to monetize the accommodations space,” Brown told me. “In addition we are expanding the online availability of unique inventory for emerging markets through our global clients, making it easier for travelers around the world to find the right place to stay through our clients’ and partners’ websites.”

One of their first and most successful clients is ApartmentsZadar, which provides vacation rentals in Zadar, Croatia. Using a branded site created by BookingMarkets, the manager, Danko, keeps rates and availability up-to-date and allows instant bookings of his properties. With online bookings steadily increasing, he is planning on launching more websites in Croatia.

I chatted with Brown about the size of their market, the startup scene in Chile, and lessons learned at Tripeezy.

Tech Cocktail: Why do you think there needs to be more niche accommodation sites?

Paige Brown: Over one third of bookings that are done every year are still done offline. This totals over $100 billion in transactions. In the same regard, in emerging markets such as Latin America, 80% of the accommodations segment is fragmented and online booking in travel is still at a very low rate. This is mainly because local places to stay lack the standardized technology to integrate with the large online travel agencies and distribution platforms.

By allowing local travel agents, tour operators and entrepreneurs to utilize our platform for these niche accommodations websites and then distributing those places to stay through global travel brands, we will be able to connect more travelers with places to stay around the globe.

Tech Cocktail: What is the startup scene like in Chile? 

Brown: I was one of the original participants of Startup Chile back in October 2010. It is an amazing country with a fantastic perspective on startups and building an entrepreneurial culture.

Throughout my time there, I could see how the Startup Chile program was working to facilitate the culture locally and encourage a more risk adverse culture. Now, there are hundreds of startups in place in Santiago and around the country, and it’s amazing to see how many Chileans, many of them my friends from my time there, have decided to jump on the entrepreneurial bandwagon.

Tech Cocktail: What have you learned from Tripeezy that you are applying to BookingMarkets?

Brown: Having started Tripeezy back in 2009, I had over 3 years to learn as much as possible about entrepreneurship and the travel industry. It is incredible all the knowledge that I gathered and lessons that I learned that have now helped me to launch BookingMarkets with my team. I know the travel market extremely well, and have the knowledge to keep up to date with the latest trends.

One of the biggest lessons I learned in that time is that, as a previous solo founder with a non-technical background, having such an amazing team and strong technical focus as it is with BookingMarkets is incredible and important.

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Monika Jansen is a writer and editor who is happiest pounding out blog posts, newsletters, website content, and other materials. Follow her at: @monikacjansen

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