Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Groople was first to Group but is now having to innovate to keep up

One of the first companies I blogged about was group booking specialist Groople. In posts on them and other targeted booking providers I have mused about how it will be challenging to obtain and maintain scale focused on a very niche section of the market. Themarket has also become very competitive for group travel with the likes of TripHub also entering the market (here is my interview with John Pope of TripHub).

You will recall that TipHub enables groups of people to share information about about a trip. In a recent announcement Groople are planning similar planning abilities such as clone itineraries, themes for groups and event scheduling. TripHub may have followed Groople into the group market but Groople is now following TripHub into social networking.


Guillaume said...

Hi Tim,

I have also tried last week HotelPlanner. I wasn't particularly amazed by the product itself. After 48 hours, I have only received 2 answers for an inquiry in London in a month. The query was for a group of 10 people, 2 nights, 4* hotel max budget per person £80. The two answers were over the budget. So in the end I got nothing. I think we are still in early stage with group bookings automation because Hotels are probabably not all aware and proficient with these news tools.


Tim Hughes said...

Agree its early times. I don't the question is "Will group travel go online?" because the answer is clearly yes. The question is - can these group specific start ups built up a enough of a business in a fast enough period of time to make it easier for a big player to scoop them up rather than building it.

Barbara said...

Hi Tim,
Thank you for your post.
I am a hotel manager in Albuquerque, and recently discovered by accident we were listed in Groople. Since they had never contacted us to book a group, I was interested in how it worked.
I submitted a request for information about booking a group specifically at my hotel (not mentioning that I worked there). I received an email stating that, sadly, there was no room at the hotel I was inquring about (mine), but that there were other hotel options in the area.
This was a false claim, as we had never even been contacted to find out if we had availability for this group inquiry I had submitted.
At that point I called Groople and asked that we be removed from their list of hotels.
We've found HotelPlanner.com to be a much more above-board and professional company to work with.

Tim Hughes said...

Very interesting story - anyone out there from Groople with a comment?

mikestacy said...

Hi Tim,
I'm Mike Stacy and I am the CEO of Groople. I looked into this and Barbara is correct: We simply made a mistake.

Groople has great relationships with thousands of hotels and we have experienced significant year-over-year growth. Still, we are passionate about continually enhancing Groople and use feedback such as this to improve our product in areas we might have overlooked. We certainly hope that Barbara will give us a second chance.