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Your Virtual Travel Concierge Has Arrived : Mobissimo CEO Beatrice Tarka (Part 4)

Posted on Friday, Apr 18th 2008

SM: What is your TAM and how do you calculate it?

BT: According to Henry Harteveldt Forrester Research’s travel expert, the online travel market represents the highest growing proportion of the overall travel market. Online travel is also the most lucrative. PhoCusWright says that online travel spending reached nearly $100 billion in 2007.

Mobissimo is focused on the larger, international, online travel market which represents $600 billion versus $225 billion for the U.S. domestic market. That is our sweet spot.

SM: How are you earning revenue, from referrals or by commission?

BT: Our business model taps into this vast, growing market through advertising revenue and referral fees, much like Google’s business model. We don’t tax our back-end system by getting involved in the transactions themselves.

SM: What are your top target segments? Do you have substantial traction in anything other than international travel?

BT: We do support the U.S. travel market. Although the U.S. market is large, it is the international market that is growing exponentially. China and India are two markets that have seen incredible growth recently as well as Eastern Europe.

Drilling down into demographics, women may be our greatest users. Sometimes it’s a businesswoman or entrepreneur like yourself, maybe an executive assistant booking travel for her boss, or sometimes a young woman planning a get-away vacation from home. But women are smart shoppers who know how to find the best bargains and value.

QuantCast numbers show that Mobissimo attracts a particular user profile. Our user demographics are slightly skewed to a female audience; 56% of our users are women, 34% of our users’ household income exceeds $100K per annum, 70% of our users have had higher education. The typical user is female, the largest group of which is aged 25-45 years, followed by the 55 and older age group. We have a great ethnicity mix as well with a strong African American, Asian and Hispanic user base. Our users come from more than 200 countries around the world. Our customer makes the travel decisions not only for himself or herself, but often for the entire family.

SM: How did you penetrate these market segments and this demographic to get early traction?

BT: Mobissimo was, and is, appealing for the end user because we have content, and thus prices, that no one else has.

We display travel information for suppliers who are not accessed through traditional travel sites. This includes a large number of low cost airlines that we alone cover. In one single place you can find over 80 low cost airlines from around the world such as JetBlue, EasyJet, Ryanair, Centralwings, Wizzair, Vueling, Clickair, Spanair, Kingfisher, Jetairways, as well as multiple online travel agencies and consolidators that provide great international ticket pricings. Here are some of them: Lessno, Vayama, Airfare.com, GOVoyages, Opodo, Ebookers, Lastminute.com, Nouvelles Frontieres, Terminal A, Travlguru, Yatra.

We went for the affluent early adopters and we got good traction there. Within a month of our launch, Time Magazine put us on their list of the 50 Coolest Web sites, and Mobissimo became known all around the world.

The press helped us to get early traction with users quickly and increased our visibility internationally. First we worked on the content, and then we developed a core following. We call these people “Mobissimo addicts” or “MobiFans”. Our users keep coming back because they continue to find the best fares.

This segment is part 4 in the series : Your Virtual Travel Concierge Has Arrived : Mobissimo CEO Beatrice Tarka
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