What I love about featuring a new startup is that it could be very intellectually stimulating for the participants of the roundtable. Think about it as a Startup MBA Case Study. Just like thinking about your own startup idea, figuring out how to design the product, market it, acquire and retain users, negotiate partnerships, hire people... In an hour, you’re going through the journey with the founders who have just been through the process for the past year.
For the April Travel 2.0 Meetup, we’re featuring Nicole Cotroneo and Mark Jolly, founders of GloboMaestro.com and Globorati.com.
GloboMaestro is the web's first collection of true local travel experts. These experts are top hotel concierges whose business is to dispense insider advice to travelers every day. Partnered with prestigious hotel brands, including St. Regis, Fairmont, Mandarin Oriental, The Surrey and The Bowery Hotel, GloboMaestro empowers concierges to get out from behind their desks and bring their local know-how directly to consumers via personal blogs, high quality videos, and direct interactions.
Nicole Cotroneo is a seasoned news reporter and contributor to The New York Times and The Washington Post, among other publications. She is a regular travel columnist for Delta Sky magazine. She also authors the popular food and travel blog, NY Girl Eats World, and has been seen on television as a guest judge on The Food Network.
Mark Jolly is a longtime contributing editor at Condé Nast Traveler, and has been published in numerous top publications on both sides of the Atlantic. A product of English-Iranian parents, he has lived in four continents and has reported from over 60 countries.
What intrigued me about GloboMaestro is their slick design, unique content, and smart business model. To consumers, it is the place to get high quality video and blog content about hidden treasures of the city; to hotels, it is the place to market their high quality service, showcase insider access of the concierge, and build relationships with customers via social media channels.
There are several areas that would be great learning from Nicole and Mark:
- As most hotels have a corporate parent, selling to headquarters could be a long and bureaucratic process. How did they overcome this hurdle? What is the most effective way to navigate the complex ownership and management structure and sell to hotels?
- Operating a successful luxury travel site Globorati.com, what prompted them to start a new business? What are the most important learnings from working on Globorati that are benefiting their second venture?
- How do hotels measure success of this effort? How do they measure social media ROI?
- How does GloboMaestro maintain editorial control while getting paid by the hotel?
Time: Wednesday April 13, 2011. 6pm