16 Apr 2018

Startup pitch – REVVA uses AI to help SMEs crack revenue management

REVVA, based in Palma Mallorca, claims to have launched the first AI-powered business intelligence and revenue management system.

It works with inbound destination management companies (DMCs) and outbound tour operators, activities suppliers, wholesalers and bedbanks and other tech providers. It says that its solution is pretty easy to use, doesn’t require a lot of training and gives smaller suppliers access to revenue, yield, pricing and availability data and insights comparable to what the major players use.

Before the Q&A, here’s REVVA’s elevator pitch.

 

What problem does your business solve?

REVVA is an analytics tool at its core, so it solves several pains at once! Simply put, it democratizes data monetization for small and medium-sized operators. Usually, this kind of business is not able to process and transform raw data into actionable insights, so we’re giving them the chance to fight against the big players with their own secret weapons – revenue management and business intelligence.

Names of founders, their management roles, and number of full-time paid staff?

Maria Vittoria Rondinelli – product manager
Raffaella Iscra – communications and marketing director
Manuele Aldrovandi – sales director
Marcello Bresin – CEO

There’s also a founder/investor who currently owns a DMC but prefers to remain anonymous for now.

Three of us have previous entrepreneurship experience (owning DMCs and outgoing operators), Raffaella is a professor at a prestigious university and advisor to multinational corporations while Manuel is a director at a five-star hotel.

Only two of us work full time on the project: development and customer service are outsourced. Salaries and dividends will make an appearance when (if) the company’s profitable.

Funding arrangements?

Bootstrapping, no external financing was esteemed necessary so far.

Revenue model?

Set up fees and monthly subscriptions. Consulting services and cross-selling commissions from partners are secondary sources of income.

Why do you think the pain point you’re solving is painful enough that customers are willing to pay for your solution?

Because REVVA is extremely easy to implement and even easier to use, it’s inexpensive (considering the value it brings) and – more to the point – because we’ve been on the other side of the fence before. This is not a student’s startup borne from a fancy idea, but a hi-tech version of a decades-long proven system, only with a new approach and modern technology.

REVVA was conceived because, as former tour operator owners and managers we saw a clear necessity, not properly addressed so far. As of today, only the industry behemoths are able to convert data into money, incurring the expense of significant resources and specialized teams.

With REVVA, even a two-person tiny incoming agency can benefit from easy and fast data processing, at the cost of a magazine subscription. Of course, the system can scale up to multi-million-euro companies as well –  we recently  caught the attention of several well-known bed banks, a large OTA and a GDS.

External validation?

The project took almost two years to materialize, through several iterations and one pivot, all under a “lean” methodology. We still have a few customers testing the system, and in less than two months from launch we signed our first customer (an OTA), plus a few more are on trial period.

We have established partnerships with Triometric, Rateniac, Illusions Online and Travtion, among others.

Tnooz view

The travel tech halls at ITB or WTM are full of businesses operating in the vast revenue management field. How many cloud-based SaaS tour operator reservation platforms or their like does the industry need?

Fortunately, quite a lot. There is a need for every travel business to manage its revenue. Anyone can sell a ten dollar bill for eight dollars.

Hotels and airlines have traditionally led the way in revenue and yield management, but increasingly tours and activities providers, tour operators, cruise lines, even museums and restaurants are interested and active in this arena.

As these new segments join the revenue and yield party, the airline and hotels have already moved to a new, more sophisticated venue, and are looking at ways to revenue-manage individual rooms, introduce personalised pricing by channel, apply yield techniques to ancillaries.

OTAs are also getting increasingly clever at revenue management as the packaging software they use to build their own flight + hotel + tour + car bundles gets more sophisticated.

So where does REVVA fit in? The business seems to have taken a studied approach so far and some of the messaging on its website adopts a more measured, less gung-ho tone than many – as mentioned above, it is not claiming to be doing anything revolutionary or disruptive, just using the best of today’s technology and data science thinking to make an established way of doing things much better.

The blog channel on its web site is also of a different tone, with lots of content written by a team which is clearly knowledgeable and passionate about revenue management.

Anyone who can argue that travel businesses “needs revenue management because it is a Darwinian trait akin to peripheral vision” is worth paying attention to.

View original article here