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This Aussie travel tech start-up is changing the game for small tourism businesses

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Simon Lenoir

Australian travel technology company Rezdy is changing the game for small travel and tourism businesses, making them more competitive globally and changing the way the travel industry views the tour and activity sector.

The tours and attraction sector has been largely overlooked by travel technology players, who have focussed on flights, hotels, car rentals and home-rentals such as Airbnb. This is quickly changing with Rezdy’s marketplace technology connecting travel suppliers that specialise in travel tours and attractions with agents from all around the world.

Rezdy CEO Simon Lenoir said that the software is a game-changer for the tourism businesses.

“Until recently travellers relied on travel guide or the fliers in hotel lobbies. If suppliers weren’t featured in these they depended on word of mouth or guests finding their website. If customers did find them, the paperwork was clunky and time consuming, often reliant on phone or email bookings,” said Mr Lenoir.

“Unlike the ‘meat and potato’ of flight and hotel bookings, tours and attraction were seen as a hassle for travel companies. There was a lag in confirmation, increased chances of human error in the booking and no scope for commission because the suppliers didn’t have the technology to manage the volume of bookings.”

The subscription-based platform is designed to help small, often family-run operations that don’t have resources to market themselves on a large scale.

Tourism operators who sign up for the Rezdy Marketplace are instantly available to consumers around the world through tourism providers such as online travel agents (Expedia, TripAdvisor, GetYourGuide, RedBalloon), Tourist Visitor Centres and hotel concierges the world. The ability to be accessible to travellers worldwide through say, TripAdvisor’s Instant Booking Tool creates huge opportunities for these ‘Mom & Pop’ businesses.

How is Rezdy doing so far?

The software has attracted the interest of major global players with a number of international partnerships including Chinese outbound tour and activity specialist Haiwan. This provides access to a market that was previously difficult to tap into, in a year when Chinese visitors to Australia exceeded 1 million in 12-months for the first time.

Jacqui Travaglia, proprietor Lantern Ghost Tours
Jacqui Travaglia, proprietor Lantern Ghost Tours

Lantern Ghost Tours has reported exceptional growth since using the Rezdy Marketplace technology with a 200% increase in bookings.

Jacqui Travaglia said, “The level of growth we’ve experienced has had an incredible impact on our business, we’ve hired more tour guides and head office staff and have been able to introduce new products which also helps generate repeat business. On a functional level it’s created efficiencies that saves us a huge amount of time – previously we would have to continuously update the website and calendar and email or send messages to guests individually – no one in the team misses that!”

The tourism industry is valued at $47.5 billion in Australia. The Rezdy Marketplace works with 1,500 travel companies globally, with more than 30,000 products across 80 countries, with these numbers growing rapidly, and has processed over $1.2 billion in bookings.

Rezdy raised 1.5 million from 2012 to 2014 in 3 rounds led by Sydney-based ‘‘super angel’ Grand Prix Capital.  Bailador Technology Investments led a 3 million series round in 2015.

The Rezdy team
The Rezdy team

Who is the man behind Rezdy?

We caught up with Simon for a brief interview about himself and his fast-growing start-up, here is what he had to share with Anthill.

Who is Simon Lenoir?

After travelling the world on a self-imposed sabbatical I ended up living in Thailand working as a dive instructor. For the first year I spent most of his time with divers in the water, but after the devastating tsunami I focused my energies on managing operations to help the centre rebuild.

Having previously worked as a software engineer, I realised that small tour operators needed help with technology to process bookings more efficiently. From that experience I embarked on a mission to change the face of the tour activity industry and the idea for Rezdy was born.

What is your vision for Rezdy?

Tourism operators who sign up to the Rezdy Marketplace are instantly available to consumers around the world. The ability to be accessible to travellers through say, TripAdvisor’s Instant Booking Tool creates huge opportunities for ‘Mom & Pop’ businesses. Not only does it make their lives easier through the streamlined technology, it allows them to be marketed on a level they just don’t have the budget to do independently and we’re hearing incredible stories of how small businesses have grown.

We currently have 2000 customers in more than 80 countries but we want to keep growing this distribution network and global footprint. In the last two years Rezdy has pioneered strategic partnerships with the likes of Viator, Expedia and China’s Haiwan so we’ll continue to focus on new relationships in our key markets and beyond.

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