“Startup spotlight”’ features companies on the rise in travel and innovation.
Headquarters: Mount Arlington, NJ
Founder: Sheli Gupta, Co-founder & CEO
How did the idea of Relovate come about?
As veteran travelers, all of our co-founders were frustrated with things that couldn’t be done online, things that made trip planning exhausting and frustrating. The totality of the experience seemed to be: “Book now or face dire consequences.” We identified six major trip planning work streams that weren’t being well supported by any single provider: data aggregation, trip planning and booking, custom planning and personalization, sharing and collaboration, pre-booking, and provider engagement. We thought if we resolved those, our initial application would give us an egalitarian place to start. Why? Because it doesn’t matter whether you have been inspired, required or invited to travel; you must always plan a trip.
How do you describe your solution in a few lines?
Relovate is a trip technology platform. We use advanced data aggregation to drive a single tab interface, populated with multi-sourced product. Address (geo) intelligence and mapping functions make precise searches and door-to-door planning practical and easy. Trip sharing and publishing is supported for both the end traveler and content producers like publishers and bloggers, plus organizations like colleges and universities, hospitals and conferences, which need to provide travel-related information.
What is your million-dollar-differentiator, the one thing that makes Relovate unique from other travel players?
We are the only site where you can completely research, build, plan, save, share, and book a trip.
What was your founding team doing before starting Relovate?
We were all in the biopharmaceutical services space, which, in our view, has parallels to travel. Along with end users, there are many stakeholders who touch, influence, and shape the end-user experience.
Where does the name Relovate come from?
It is inspired by the letters L-O-V-E T-R-A-V-E-L; both words can be found in our name.
Were there any pivots along the way in the early stages?
We had to go back a bit when we decided to make “dateless” trip planning easy; we also backed off a mobile app in connection with our first release.
What challenges do you anticipate having to overcome?
One challenge is building brand awareness, user trial and trust. Another is establishing channel partnerships and evolving the technology platform so third parties can easily tap our capabilities.
What led you to grow your business with Amadeus for Startups?
Amadeus was highly responsive to our first outreach, curious about our idea, and fully supportive of our team, which is really just a bunch of guys from pharma!
How do you summarize your corporate culture?
We are passionate about trip sharing and collaboration, creating pre-booking connectivity for providers, and making trip planning and booking easy. No one curls up in the fetal position or laments when we confront a mistake or receive feedback we don’t love. To put things in perspective, our top-ranking dilemma on team surveys is the daily lunch choice. Cliff Bars and Fruit Rollups are our most popular snacks. IPAs and Chianti go quickest when we huddle together near the end of the week.
How are you leveraging social media to raise awareness and user acquisition?
Our direct-to-consumer efforts are just getting started; platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook will be productive for us. Public relations will play a major role.
In just a few words, tell us why consumers should use your product.
If you LOVE TRAVEL, Relovate makes it possible to finally Stop Booking Around.
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