Project updates

Sustainability, revenue model and best domain for Hotelcoalition

posted Mar 9, 2010, 9:29 AM by Giacomo de Feo

How about the macro-vision of this project. What do you see? If we do a hotel system, are we not trading punches with Venere, Expedia, etc? Would we start with Italy hotels? Brazil? 

We will just kill them with no commissions. All we need is to get enogh money in to keep our lights on. If they want to punch us they'll need to kill themselves by going to zero commissions.

An ex Yahoo manager in London is interested in the project too. We may well do it global. Alfred will take advantage of the Italian version, you of the Brazilian. The company may be in London  when you say "take advantage" i presume you mean "take care "? not just a grammatical forgive the question.....I meen get the benefits that may come from it. Like getting the good spots for your places or those of you your friends (I am one of your friends I hope :-)

Amazing! I love the idea. We may well get this off the ground with force this time. I think we have an edge there with zero commissions. I can offer 15.000 hotels in Brazil, I think I have a good set of hotels. I don't know how they will receive this, but surely we can work to conquer their share of booking systems. I know for example that hotel owners do not want "yet another" system... I get replies like we must be THE system. They say they can't maintain 3 or 4 agencies availability data.   hi. read up. and yes, undoubtedly the idea of offering a system with no commissions is attractive, but having said that, its not a FREE system, because if i understand correctly, the system will be based on Auction principle, much like adwords. 
and that means its realy a system only for hotls that can afford the expense. so i woui would like to hear more about that aspect.
Free for everyone, except one or two per city who will auction for the "Sponsored area" which will be clearly separated from the "organic" results. ok. so how do the organic results work? in what order are hotels visualized? 
Any order we may decide, but has to be transparent. I mean it will be clear to everybody we are fair to hotels. The site will be named something like hotelcoalition. It is hotels getting together to fend off the gready online sites getting unreasonable commissions from them. ok. if all get it for free except 2, where does the money come from. it would mean you would have to have a lot of different cities where just 2 hotels pay for topspot in order to see any money.  and related question< if all get it for free anyway, waht would be the incentive for any hotel to pay for this? 
  • technology will help us. the system has to run on GAE which is amazingly powerful and fast, can handle faster and cheaply more load than and will keep expenses low for us
  • auctions for top spots in good cities will go very well if the system takes off.  With 10.000 unique visitors a day, you can fill your hotel very fast and leave the top spot to someone else. ok. so what is the projection on the cost for top spot? i would guess it's an auction...we need to set the initial bid, the rest just goes...if word gets around that "getting top spot fills your hotel ZERO COMMISSION", we will be famous in a short time. the initial bid can be automatic based on previous auctions....say, the 33% of the winning bid of the last auction... 
  • I may be wrong and it may not work at all! :- )  sorry, i was going to comment. i think it'll work, i have but a few questions on the java team and marketing, we get this to be famous....i m still not clear on it. its not a free system - It, at least its not for those who really want to fi ll their hotels, because they ll be paying the csot at the auction. true. sorry. my connection  kees dropping. I appreciate your concern
  • so waht are teh calculatioins?
  • how much would a top spot go for?
  • I'll give you some numbers...the first things that comes my mind is....hey great....its a free system...which means iw ll get some reservations for free.great. and i join an auction i ll get even more. well.......lets just signup and get the free thin going. i would think that the system will be claimed very quickly by a few bigger hotels that can afordo to buy top spot all the time.... They will not be "Top spots" but sponsored spots. It will be visually clear that they are sponsors and not part of the system like on google results? Yes... why not  copy from someone successfull? Giacomo, do you visualize these results as triggered by keywords or by city? By city. So 

Correction. To fill a hotel you pay 10 to 20%, with us, you bid for a top spot. It's not entirely free, of course..... 2  ok. lets presume for arguments sake it will work. then there is matter of marketing. if u wanna make money,and only 2 sponsored spots per city make u money. u need a loooooot of cities. whichs means u need a global system. which means u need to make impact fast. which also means u will be adding lots of hotels....which is lots of work........
hw is that side gonna work?

Alfred I can tell you pretty much how much money we should make. We will make about 15% of what other systems make. 

May I pose a question to both of you?
go ahead

I have a site now, worldwide except Brazil. I am investing in it.... I would be able to adapt it in relatively little time.... Like a prototype.

I don't have money to market it, make it big. My idea was to run in on ready-made advertising, like google.

Would you like to help me market it or make something based on it that we can test? And then move on to JAva/devel project? just stepping out for a minute, need to wash the he is in the bath. keep going.....

Giacomo, have you seen the site I'm talking about? I'm not sure I should paste it here? he has seen it . OK, won't paste it. I removed the other url too, just in case, between us it's known.
Just paste it, don't worry

I think I have, I'm not sure i showed u. 

I think that site will not take long to get more traffic, based on my work recently. I can make a prototype of this idea there....i want a private jet and weekly flghts to Rio(and )I'm not sure you'd authorize it, or how we divide the world up between us, etc... Just an idea, I'm offering(disconnected) as brainstorm, because I could do this fast.

which domain do you like better:

i thought it was based on searches before inesad of citiesand had come up with or reversely = beautiful! sounds good too. for italy i have no doubt the .it is ideal.
The it! is both good for italy and for the it in English...

like Dicover It! It is free!

hotelcoalition is good beacuse my friend in London is negotiating with an hotel chain which may be interesested to finance a project based on the premises that a Coalition of hotels will fight those greedy online booking system. I thought of that name as a way to make hotel owners feel part of the project. maybe. but that wont mean anyhting to your other basin.....the customers.....
depends how u want to prioritise.hotelcolation is better for h/onwers. the other one better for customers.

you did also show hot likely it is to be misspelled - i had not noticed hotelcolation

customers will be told that they are likely to find best fares because this is a colaition of hotels that don't wast money on useless commthey are told that everywhere  because  of some reasons, but eah, i will fly...

esteticaly dont like hotelcoaltiion. sounds toosamam husseiny.....
sadam husseiny....i mean....

That is the idea... the Coalition that kicked Saddam's butt

i guess getting hotelchaings into this will be the way to get high nrs. of hotels quickly.
so going to tourist expo-s would be big part of it, rather then just marketing to the individual hotels. 

Alfred, we can't really market the idea to hotels. It is too expensive. We need to hope they will like the idea and come to us because we are free. We should count more on some press coverage that free sites get. where?

Like when a free of charge online broker came out zecco. com (zero cost commission) they wrote a lot about it because it was quite distruptive of an estabilished business model. if and when u have time, i would still like to seethe nrs...

Or the press coverage that low cost airlines got at their beginnings when they were charging 1 Pound.

alright. et it. lets say u get the money off the hotelchain to set this up. how is it goingnna work.? how many people are required? just to insert new hotels, origianl content, etc. would u create a new team of people to work on this or do with yepa?

Hotels will have to set up their own account, upload images and update room avaibility. the one thingi believe they should not do is insert their content.because they will all copy and paste.and u ll end up with a big site full of duplicatge content. thats a lot of work.....99% of such collaborative sites require human has 10.000 human hands in that search algorithmok. i m in and offering myself as chief moderator.....because i m a very moderate person...... hihihi. LOL

 I think Jose already has it that way. 
  yes, that functionality is in there.

Can we meet here, same time, tomorrow? i never know what my day brings, but yes, i ll log in soon as i m available...

Same for me. I'm normally on yahoo messenger, if Alfred beeps me I will come over. This conversation will end up on google results anyway.....can you password-protect this?

I am working on the Business Plan, so I may have some numbers for you tomorrow.

Good, Jose, so we get some more ranking! Nice. I'm here, will code for food :))

I can't password protect it. I can do better. I can publish it on the homepage of ihihih. ! yes. to be continued.  okido.have to go wash lawrence s hair now....poor guy is itching a in a frozen bath

Yep. Don't be afraid very few people believe somebody else's idea is good, untill it proves that it actually WAS good. Good point. We'll prove it, I hope !

Jose, do you need some money for the time you'll use to set up the prototype on hotelcoaltion? No, I wouldn't know how to charge for this...I mean, I still haven't thought about the financial/time aspect. Initially I see I have to draw the UML of my current system? What should I do initially? Or will the plan have my specific to-do's?
yes please, i need to prepare my moderations....i m stepping out . will catch up later.bye for now - ok, i'm on messenger if/when you come back. giacomo, alfred has my messenger, we can chat there too in conference mode.

We can also add stuff to this etherpad. It is not something we have to do togheter at the same time

Sure. Should I work on drawing this current system? So it can be made in Java? 

Yes please Jose. OK. Will get started. If/when this flies, I hope it brings us all a financial reward.

I may show it to my London friend. Do you mind if she sees it? I don't mind at all, of course.


I'm signing off as well, would you like to chat further or do we continue with Alfred next session?

If you and alfred can come back here, I'll be able to read it

OK, I'm going back to day-job here. Thanks for inviting me to this session, I'll add ideas too if they come to mind.

Technology and Platform for Hotelcoalition

posted Mar 9, 2010, 9:27 AM by Giacomo de Feo

.I was thinking of Java on Google App Engine. Which means some problems with SQL based data structure, but zero sys admin problems and max speed from everywhere. Yes.... when I recreated the system in 2006 I did not have this vision of Amazon S3/etc and Google App Engine. My demand now, about 5000 to 10.000 unique visitors per day, does not charge the servers at all.... My goal was to try and make this work, then migrate to a modern-day setup.Maybe we could just describe the system and have it developed in Java for GAE where it is less expensive. It may take you a year to redo it in Java. What do you think?
The technical challenge excites me ;) - But I am running all day with my work, so we need a plan and goals, make this a sucess. Alfred and I have done many projects, we are not very good project managers.....or at least for myself, I can say I am not a very good manager at all.
What do you think we can do? I can probably deliver this in Java, I would have to estimate to give you a time frame. Hotels only? Tourism? 
Maybe you and Alfred could help me write the specifications, and you could move on to a higher level, from coding to checking the quality of code and usability for tourists and hotelowners. My main concern is that the code can be improved and worked on by different developers. So it has to be very clear and clean. Java classes will help us from that point of view. I could write the initial code? Then we monitor a team? Something like that?You could describe the data structure and monitor a team while the write it. It would be faster and we'd maybe get it done in a more reasonable time. This is just brainstorming...  Yes. I can deliver the UML diagrams, data structures....I have them all in SQL, you mentioned we won't be using SQL at all? Google forces to use their "Data Store" Main issue about it is that you can't JOIN tables. It is like that because JOINS does not work well on the cloud if tables are physically located on different Servers. What about Amazon EC and S3(?) ? Do you know how they work? I prefer to go through some troubles now, but stick with Google. If we are forced to use SQL, there a Java Framework (I think it is Scala, but I'm not sure) which has a "middleman" between the code and the DBMS, so you can write your code for the "middleman" which will make it work on both SQL and Datastore.I see. When I say SQL, it is an ORM, but still it is SQL in the end... We can probably translate to Google App Engine. Do you like it?  it worth the migration? Yes. there is nothing faster, more scalable and cheaper than GAE.

Jose's coding experience

posted Mar 9, 2010, 9:25 AM by Giacomo de Feo

What did you use to develop you Brazilian site? (I used Perl / Linux / MySQL) Why did you switch from PHP to Perl?
I founded a group called Brasilia Perl Mongers in 1999. After the group disbanded, I was working 100% on PHP. In 2006 one of the former Perl group members showed me some Perl projects he had. I was impressed....his work was cleaner than mine. I thought I could use a more "formal" language. I switched entirely for technical reasons, Perl has been my specialty since 1996...that is all...Do you use some Framework? - No...I took the data structures from the HNS code we had, reimplemented everything by hand in Perl. The ORM that I use is the same as Catalyst framework, so it can probably be migrated...but right now it is 100% in-house stuff

How Jose's offline business may integrate with Hotelcoalition

posted Mar 9, 2010, 7:35 AM by Giacomo de Feo   [ updated Mar 9, 2010, 9:25 AM ]

Shared document by Alfred, Jose & Giacomo
Does Jose offline business do "Incoming"? 

What is incoming? Business term?

Should be a travel industry business term... Usually travel agencies do "Outbound"... they send people from the agency location to places where they want to go. Does your agency also work with people coming to Brasilia?

Yes, understood now. Yes, here we call it "viaggio"(viagens) for local trips, and "turismo" for outbound travel. Our agency is Viagens e Turismo, we bring tourists from abroad to Brasil too. BUT we don't have big advertisement budget, so currently we have friends in embassies, using our service. But 70% of our work is from Brasil to abroad. Outbound. Which is usually more hurt than helped by the Internet. 
We have gotten good customers from our english incoming page - not MANY but customers which stay with us after they know us. I think the internet hurt our local travel business more. EXAMPLE: Airlines sell cheaper tickets on THEIR sites, than our own.... We stopped selling tickets because of that.Also travelers sometimes book their hotels by themselves. Trip packages are still good for Agencies. Right?

Yes, exactly. My  business associate, is graduated in tourismology. So her consultancy adds value, we build packages for customers, she consults, recommends places. We send customers to Alfred(a few in the past), but as example, so they are well received, we get good reviews and word-of-mouth. If we did not have this consultancy to add value, selling a hotel or ticket would be impossible against and, etc... 

Ok. I see. What about incoming? Do you sell packages for Brazil to tourists or just help Brasilia hotlels to get bookings?

After my experience with Alfred, we were unable to capitalize further selling hotels in Brazil for external customers. I went back to my agency only. Then realising I had this system, I decided to translate my Brazil business to other languages. So I started the idea to sell tourism to outsiders (tourism or hotel bookings?),    - tourism, yes, hotels were a part of it. Tourism. Practical example: a family member has land in Bahia, very beautiful place. It is completely unaccessible to outsiders... We wanted to get groups in Europe, bring to Bahia... In fact, rich guys from abroad "hide" there....we have this knowledge, to sell Brasil outside, but we are small and working in the small, so this never became a business.Aren't there regulations in Brazil that may prevent a travel agency from selling packages like a Tour Operator usually sells? I don't know of any restrictions. I may ask for specifics. For example, we are authorized money-exchange dealers by the central bank, we pay zero on exchange fees exactly to promote outside business.... They want the incoming tourism capital...but I don't know the specifics. What do you think could be restricted? In Italy a travel agency can sell a package built a Tour Operator, but cannot build its own and put it on the market. I don't think they can buy rooms then put them in a package and sell them them to tourists. Anyway in Italy we have many stupid regulations... I hope Brazil is better.

Calling For more info.

OK, I was explained that in Brazil there is no such regulation. What happens is, big operators may get lower prices, while we would be unable to rent a plane for example and get special rates. We are allowed to rent room blocks, rent vans, transport and put a package together. Excellent
We are in disadvantage "capitalistically"... One moment she called me again... OK, there is one caveat. Renting planes is a bit different, we need a contract with an operator to rent the plane. Luiza says we have the contacts at the bigger airlines, BUT for commercial flights we have zero restrictions.Ok, very good.
If we manage to get a large project started, you may want to use it to boost your incoming to Brazil business. This and some money earnings could somehow motivate you?

I am 100% into the brazil tourism business...if we have a nice project, I would be motivated, yes. My business partner would also love to work bringing in tourists, I think we have the structure to do a good job. We speak English and Spanish, My business partner used to speak italian well, she went to schools there in Rome, I did not. 

We're still thinking

posted Oct 19, 2009, 9:47 PM by Giacomo de Feo   [ updated Mar 9, 2010, 9:33 AM ]

about how wonderful it would be if hotels could enjoy free booking....

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