For those who have followed our journey from the start, you might remember that Concierge.io was the original brand name of Travala.com when we launched back in 2017. We’ve now come full circle and are thrilled to breathe new life into the Concierge.io name with our luxury travel offering.
Importantly, we want to emphasise that this new brand is not a separate company. It sits under the same P&L as Travala.com, with the same team working across both brands. In short: two brands, one company.
The Road to our New Brand and Service
In April this year, we announced that we would be adding a luxury concierge travel service to our lineup that would be ancillary to the existing hotels, flights and activities available on Travala.com. Ben (CMO at Travala.com) and Radka (Global Operations Manager at Travala.com) had been working on a luxury concierge service for some time to determine whether there was a genuine market for this type of service.
Efforts began in early 2020 when Radka was fielding requests for more complex speciality bookings (such as private jets and cruises) and Ben had seen considerable third-party data to suggest that there was a gap in the market for such a service. After testing the ideas with interviews and feedback from clients, a business case was put forward internally to discuss the opportunity with Travala.com’s executive team. The decision was made to announce the product and see if it could scale beyond the initial customer base already being serviced.
The results beat our expectations, which were set at a target customer base increase of 200%. In just a few months, the number of clients using the concierge service increased by over 500%. To date, 100% of all bookings made on the concierge service have been paid in crypto — a further endorsement that a strong market for the service exists. Consequently, the company decided to invest more time and resources into the niche vertical to build a more comprehensive offering.
Developing the new brand and expanding the concierge service required negotiating developer time to build out additional features and improve functionality on the site, though this did not detract from Travala.com’s goals and deliverables. As a people service business, the key resource for Concierge.io is our team of travel experts who work closely with clients to design and book their luxury itineraries.
The increase in headcount within the travel operations team — required to adequately service our concierge clients — also benefitted Travala.com as it helped to dramatically decrease the average customer service response and resolution times. A greater number of experienced travel consultants is also proving handy in dealing with the complexities added to managing travel in the complex world of COVID-19.
Shane (Head of Business Development at Travala.com) also worked alongside Ben and Radka to drive the Concierge.io service forward, going through data-driven processes to iterate an ever-improving product. Through this research and methodology, it became clear that a new brand was needed.
The significant differences in the customer and supplier profiles meant that separate brands — which complement each other rather than interfere with each other’s growth — were preferable to the two divisions remaining under the one brand.
This is principally because luxury travel clients have a separate set of requirements and preferences in comparison to online travel agency (OTA) customers. For instance, these clients typically:
- prioritise exclusivity and service over price
- trust that a consultant with industry experience will arrange an unforgettable experience better than they can on their own
- prefer to purchase the whole experience from A-Z
- desire what others can’t have, including the selection of exclusive options
- want a specialist available to help at a moment’s notice
- are not interested in rewards programs
Pitching to luxury travel suppliers as Travala.com also proved particularly challenging. These premium suppliers were not interested in providing their products to an OTA platform that caters to the public at large. Much like our luxury clients, suppliers prioritise the exclusivity of their inventory. They can choose to be selective with who they work with, and therefore a budget travel website was unlikely to fit their requirements. Under the new Concierge.io brand, establishing supplier relations and expanding our luxury travel product inventory has already drastically improved these discussions.
The Benefits of Concierge.io for Travala.com and AVA
As a standalone brand, we expect it will now be much easier to grow our luxury travel client base and suppliers. A share of net revenue received from Concierge.io will also flow to the Community Pool, which can be used for initiatives voted on by the community that provide more utility for the AVA token. The faster we grow, the more bookings will contribute to this pool from our luxury vertical.
With applications for Concierge.io now open, we have introduced a way of fast-tracking applications exclusively for AVA token holders. Fast-track applications require clients to have held AVA tokens in a wallet for a substantial period of time (note: this can be any wallet, not necessarily the in-platform wallet). This provides a further use case for AVA via all compatible wallets.
The biggest benefit for the brand though comes from the product itself and what we sell. Stories write themselves and open us up to a broader range of future media opportunities that will all reference our principle brand. Concierge.io is not a competitor to Travala.com — it is our aspirational brand. Similar to how top sports brands use athletes to promote their sportswear, our luxury travel brand will motivate travellers to book on Travala.com while inspiring them to one day enjoy the luxury services of Concierge.io.
A travel company having multiple brands is not a new strategy. Many have at least three tiers: a student travel business, a family and business brand, and a luxury travel service. The reason why travel agency groups do this is because it targets more specific demographics rather than providing a one-size-fits-all platform. And it works!
What’s next for Concierge.io
Our marketing and BD strategy will be rolled out over the next four weeks. You will also start to see our brand a bit more around the web. If you are following closely, you will likely see our leadership team being interviewed by both crypto and mainstream press.
The B2B concierge will also start to grow quickly, with Head of Business Development Shane ready to hit the ground running to bring in new businesses that are ready to travel in a post-pandemic world.
Thank you for taking the time to read about our new development. We’re excited to welcome all our new Concierge.io clients and look forward to sharing more updates with you all soon!
The Travala.com Team