A brand new B2C platform has made its way online and into the North American market, and soon, travel agents might be able to use it, too.
The company was launched last Wednesday (Oct. 16) and is led by founder and CEO, Joseph DeMarinis, who spent several years working at TravelBrands and RedTag.ca.
BookSeats.com is an online event-based travel company that allows fans from around the world to package their flights, accommodations and event tickets all in one booking.
For DeMarinis, the most important thing that BookSeats.com can offer guests is an overwhelming sense of choice.
“None of our users are bound to one specific combination of flights, hotels, and tickets,” DeMarinis explained. “If they just want the tickets, or they just want a hotel room, they’re more than welcome to still utilize the platform, however we focus on the events first.”
BookSeats.com allows users to build their own package based on their unique wants and needs, including the proximity of a hotel to the event venue, how many tickets they need, travel dates, and even flight categories and specific route options. BookSeats.com has partnered with a flight aggregator for its air, and currently works with several hotel providers through Booking.com and Agoda to offer a variety of hotel accommodations.
“Customizability is what we pride ourselves on, and so far, we’ve had an amazing response,” DeMarinis said. ‘We’ve been able to take advantage of those private, bundled fares on the flight and hotel portion of the package that allows us to utilize those exclusive fares to our customers, because they are able to package one option or the other.”
How it works
As DeMarinis noted, there are plenty of existing B2C platforms on the market, which allow travellers to search for hotels, airfare, and even car rentals.
BookSeats.com takes a slightly different approach, given that the company works strictly with live inventory.
“Currently, the majority of our competitors can offer clients sports and tour packages on a quote basis, for a predetermined package” DeMarinis explained. “For us, this is something we wanted to customize and give a purely live experience to our customers.”
According to DeMarinis, after conducting research within the travel space, many signs pointed to the fact that a lot of North Americans were starting to travel for reasons other than purely for leisure, and the top two were for sporting events and concerts and music festivals.
“We started noticing that a lot of the attendees were from out of town, and somehow had to find their way to and through this new city, and find tickets, and a lot of them were doing this on separate platforms,” DeMarinis said. “By doing it this way, they weren’t generating any cost-savings. This way, we’re giving everybody the opportunity to build out their ideal package based on their wants and needs.”
Coming soon: B2B platform
With a career that included working at both TravelBrands and RedTag.ca, DeMarinis is no stranger to the power of travel advisors and working with Canada’s agent community is something he hopes to do very soon.
“Our initial launch plan was to be prevalent in the B2C marketplace, but eventually, it’s in our plans to hopefully be able to offer this type of service to travel agents across North America,” DeMarinis said, though he’s not yet sure if this would be offered via the current platform, or if the company would build out a new platform strictly for agent use.
For now, he says it’s a great research tool and reference point for any travel agents who might have a group of sports fans looking for hotels and airfare.
“From being on the retail side at RedTag.ca and TravelBrands, I know there’s a market for travel agents, because they get calls like this all the time,” DeMarinis said. “Mid-to-small groups are going to be our bread and butter, and we would love to work with travel agents to help them with their customers, especially on the groups side of things.”
While it’s much too soon to tell when the B2B component will come, DeMarinis says phase two will be all about focusing on how to work with travel agents.
"Their knowledge and expertise within the travel sphere is second to none, and I think the current platform is a great tool to help their customers build something out. They might not utilize it to book with, but it's a great way to understand more about the event space."
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