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STARTUP STAGE: Roame lets travelers search flights based on credit card points

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STARTUP STAGE: Roame lets travelers search flights based on credit card points

Roame

Roame is like Google Flights for award travel; it lets users search for flights based on credit card points/miles.

CEO and co-founder Tim Qin outlines Roame’s mission to help simplify redemptions for the 100 million people who have credit cards with points ready to use.

What is your 30-second pitch to investors?

Frequent travelers know the tricks of redeeming points/miles for award flights, but the average person does not. Even the most seasoned traveler spends hours searching for airline routes to redeem their points.

Roame is Google Flights for award travel. We let users search for flights based on credit card points/miles. And like Google, we distill information from every airline into one familiar search engine. 

Website

https://roame.travel/

Describe both the business and technology aspects of your startup.

We have built a system that takes public data, organizes it and offers it up for free for fellow travelers. Roame lets you search over 180 airlines (with more to come!) for the best flight redemption using points/miles in seconds.

We provide the core search engine free of charge and plan to pursue affiliate marketing for travel-related products.

Give us your SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis of the company.

Strengths: We are an extremely lean team with an obsession for our product. Our company focuses primarily on user experiences and outcomes. Our proprietary algorithm delivers award flight results in mere seconds.

Weaknesses: We are a small startup with limited brand recognition.

Opportunities: Travel is a large market with more than 100 million credit card holders with under-utilized points. We want to simplify credit card redemptions for the average person.

Threats: Execution is key to our success in a competitive market with rapidly changing technology.

What are the travel pain points you are trying to alleviate from both the customer and the industry perspective?

Our mission at Roame is to simplify credit card redemptions for the average person.

Over the last decade, the points and miles community has grown explosively. Now more than 100 million people have credit cards with points ready to use and an entire ecosystem has developed to teach others how to redeem their points to maximize value. However, even with such a supportive community, redeeming points can be extremely frustrating.

We all want to redeem that elusive first-class ticket on the cheap using our points, but searching the individual websites of multiple airlines is tedious. Most people just give up. The current technology services out there are slow, hidden behind paywalls and inaccurate.

Roame aims to help the points and miles community with a free, real-time, and easy-to-use search engine.

So you’ve got the product, now how will you get lots of customers?

First, we are focused on building our core award travel search engine and delighting our users. Our growth strategy is product-led, focusing on user outcomes and high retention.

In our first month, we powered over 50,000 searches. We have since grown tremendously just from viral word of mouth and earned media. In the future we may pursue partnership opportunities. 

Tell us what process you’ve gone through to establish a genuine need for your company and the size of the addressable market.

Initially, we were looking to solve our own problem of finding award flight redemptions, but after building Roame, we felt like we could help the broader points and miles community by offering a service.

We have interviewed and spoken with hundreds of users with an extremely positive reception to Roame. Our target market is the more than hundred million people who have unused points and miles.

How and when will you make money?

We provide the core search engine for free and plan to pursue affiliate marketing for travel-related products.

What are the backgrounds and previous achievements of the founding team?

The founding team has a complementary background. Our CEO has a background in technology and finance, both as an investor and operator. He has over a decade of experience executing mergers and acquisitions and data-driven strategies within travel, technology and financial services.

Our CTO has a background in distributed systems at scale and artificial intelligence. He has led teams at top tech firms to scale out mission critical components.  

How have you addressed diversity and inclusion within your business?

We are very much committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive work environment. We are keenly aware of the differences in access and opportunities, especially when it comes to financial services. Our whole business is about accessibility – we realized that the point/miles system caters to the wealthy. By giving everyone free access to data, we level that playing field.

What’s been the most difficult part of founding the business so far?

At Roame, we are user-obsessed, so the toughest challenge has been choosing between user-requested features and focusing on our planned product roadmap.

Generally, travel startups face a tough time making an impact – so why are you going to be one of lucky ones?

We are solving an extremely tedious and painful task for consumers that could take hours and simplifying the process down to a simple click to search. The tremendous reception we have received now is just scratching the surface.

A year from now, what state do you think your startup will be in?

Roame will have scaled to 10 times our current size and continue to serve the points and miles community. Flights are just part of the equation for Roame. It took emerging technology for us to be the fastest in our field. With our technology, we look forward to tackling other data-intensive parts of consumer travel. 

What is your endgame (going public, acquisition, growing and staying private, etc.)?

We want to continue to be the lean company we are now – building a great product to delight our users. We aim to make deal-hunting fun, and we are open to all potential opportunities and partners in the future.

PhocusWire’s Startup Stage

PhocusWire profiles startups in the travel, tourism and hospitality industry.

Phocuswright Europe 2023

Some of Europe’s smartest investors share their views on the state of startups and how to pick winners for travel’s next era.

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5 Types of Content That Will Attract Ready-to-Buy Prospects

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5 Types of Content That Will Attract Ready-to-Buy Prospects

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

They say that content is king — but not all digital content is created equal. While most digital content can help increase awareness for your brand, the most valuable content is designed to draw in warm prospects who are ready to make a purchase from you.

Of course, even the best content isn’t likely to result in a purchase on the first exposure. The marketing rule of seven indicates that consumers must be exposed to your messaging at least seven times on average before they decide to make a purchase. While this may often be the case, strong digital content will go a long way in lowering this total.

Related: 5 Digital Content Types Prospective Buyers Love to Engage With Online

1. Email campaigns

Email marketing remains one of the most effective methods for communicating with warm leads and staying in touch with existing customers to ensure they will buy from you again. Not only are emails far more likely to be read than other types of content, but their average return on investment towers over other options.

According to the HubSpot Blog, most marketers see an average open rate of 46-50% and a clickthrough rate of 2.6-3% — numbers that far outpace the engagement levels of social media and other popular forms of content.

Even if they are mostly comprised of previous customers, email lists are an essential marketing tool because they are made up of people who agreed to receive additional messaging from you. This fact alone already makes them far more qualified leads than someone who randomly stumbles across your blog.

2. Personal engagement on social media

While the overall engagement and reach of many social media platforms have declined, there is still much to be said for the potential these platforms offer for fostering one-on-one engagements with your warmest leads.

When marketers comment strategically on other people’s posts, actively participate in relevant groups and conversations, and respond to the comments and messages they receive, it helps create a meaningful dialogue with their target audience.

By pairing this personalized engagement with relevant, authoritative content (including videos, polls and more), you can leverage social media to nurture warm leads.

3. Cost calculators

Most companies have at least some kind of on-site content marketing strategy, which usually revolves around blogging. A blog can be undeniably beneficial for building SEO and domain authority, but depending on the type of content you create, it isn’t always going to create warm leads.

However, if your website content focuses on the customers who are ready to buy now, you can greatly increase your own sales potential — and one of the best ways to do this is with a cost calculator.

From calculating the cost of shipping a car across the country to determining how much it would cost to build your own website, these tools are inherently targeted at warm leads who are ready to make a buying decision. In this case, providing useful budgeting and planning information directly influences the user’s purchasing decision, providing a powerful way of reaching warm leads.

Related: 4 Steps to Writing Content That Converts

4. Webinars

Webinars have become an increasingly popular digital content option, and for good reason. When webinars are promoted to the right audience, they can become far more engaging and attractive to warm leads than a blog post covering the same topic would be.

The simple fact of displaying content in an audiovisual format helps make the webinar feel like an event in its own right. With an engaging topic and professional presenters, you can build a large audience. And when the topic of the webinar itself ties into your offerings, you can create a natural segue into how you can help viewers solve their most pressing problems.

Webinars can be even more effective when paired with other content, such as an e-book or follow-up video lessons. When done right, webinars can be an excellent resource for collecting email addresses and other information from warm leads who are most likely to be interested in your services.

5. Software demos

Admittedly, this digital content option doesn’t apply to every industry. However, there is a wide range of companies that offer software services, addressing everything from tracking logistics and customer relationships to managing the back end of a website.

A software demo gives warm leads the opportunity to try the service before they commit to a purchase. Firsthand interaction and experience with the software is ultimately far more convincing than a series of sales calls could ever be, as this helps buyers clearly determine whether or not a particular product works for them.

It should be no surprise, then, that opt-out free trials see an incredible 48.8% conversion rate. It’s worth noting, too, that companies that don’t sell software can use similar “trial” options, such as a two-week trial for their services. Trials and demos appeal to the warmest buyers, who often use them to finalize their purchase decision.

Related: 5 Steps for Creating a Content Marketing Strategy That Drives Business Results

While regularly updating a blog or social media profile can be useful as part of your content marketing strategy, it is essential that brands in every niche focus on the types of content that are poised to deliver the greatest return.

By focusing on the types of content that are most likely to capture warm prospects in the first place, you can turn more leads into sales and maximize the success of your content strategy.

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Broaden Your Horizons by Learning to Play the Piano with Skoove

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Broaden Your Horizons by Learning to Play the Piano with Skoove

Disclosure: Our goal is to feature products and services that we think you’ll find interesting and useful. If you purchase them, Entrepreneur may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners.

Running a business can be all-consuming. However, business people who only talk about work can sometimes struggle to network and socialize, ironically stunting their potential for growth as salespeople and entrepreneurs. That’s why taking up a hobby and developing a skill that might not relate directly to your work can help your company and career.

For a Memorial Day sale running through 11:59 p.m. PT on May 31, you can get a lifetime subscription to Skoove Premium Piano Lessons for only $119.99 (reg. $1,198). Rated 4.5/5 stars on the App Store, this platform is designed to help users develop their piano skills with interactive lessons powered by artificial intelligence.

Skoove uses cutting-edge AI technology that can recognize notes as you play them and then offer adjustments and notes in real time. With this approach, the platform can teach you a wide range of chart-topping songs with over 400 lessons and thousands of instructional videos. With the subscription, you can study tracks by artists ranging from the Beatles to Bach.

Skoove is also convenient to use and practice with. It’s compatible with all pianos and keyboards, including USB/MIDI and acoustic ones. It also works with both iOS and Android operating systems on tablets, smartphones, and computers. To broaden your horizons, consider adding it to your life today.

Remember that during a special Memorial Day sale that runs through 11:59 p.m. PT on May 31, you can get a lifetime subscription to Skoove Premium Piano Lessons for only $119.99 (reg. $1,198) with code ENJOY20 at checkout.

StackSocial prices subject to change.

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Save on Business Travel for Life This Memorial Day with an $80 Deal

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Save on Business Travel for Life This Memorial Day with an $80 Deal

Disclosure: Our goal is to feature products and services that we think you’ll find interesting and useful. If you purchase them, Entrepreneur may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners.

Growing businesses around the world rely on traveling salespeople and representatives to fuel expansion. For those in the accounting department who are trying to make enough room for airline ticket budgeting, you can do them a lot of favors by hooking up yourself or a team member with this special deal.

Through 11:59 p.m. PT on May 31, you can get a lifetime subscription to this OneAir Elite Plan for only $79.97 (reg. $790). This deal gets you indefinite access to OneAir’s deals on business, first, premium, and economy class flights to and from destinations of your choosing and interest. These deals include mistake fares and advantageously priced ones that happen to pop up.

OneAir’s platform uses artificial intelligence (AI) to scan the web around the clock for deals so that they are ready for your team when someone needs to hit the road. In addition to getting to choose up to 10 departure airports with deals, Elite users can also take advantage of OneAir’s one-on-one business and first-class planning support.

Conveniently, the OneAir Mobile App lets you access these deals, book trips, and complete bookings all in one place. It is available for both iOS and Android devices.

One recent user, Ashok, who saved $1,080 on flights using OneAir, wrote, “I am so pleased with my decision to sign up with OneAir! Just booked a super cheap flight deal to Vancouver along with 5 nights of hotel stays.”

Remember that only through 11:59 p.m. PT on May 31, you can get a lifetime subscription to this OneAir Elite Plan for only $79.97 (reg. $790).

StackSocial prices subject to change.

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