What with the Canadian winter now blowing its chilly horn, a new tech-enabled travel opportunity has been unveiled, and not a second too soon.
Demeure (a tech start-up company out of, where else, Waterloo, ON) Marketplace combines social networking ideas with cloud-based computing platforms to create a new way to book travel online.
Demeure’s curated destination portfolio includes thousands of vacation homes, boutique hotels, yachts, and other top properties with plenty of sun, sand, surf and more.
Yes, the company wants us all to get ‘out and about’ more often, but it also intends to address head-on some nuisance travel industry booking, listing and capacity issues. The company says it is using the best of new technologies to unpack hidden value for travelers, property owners, and service providers.
As almost anyone who’s booked or tried to book an elaborate vacation or resort property stay can testify: sometimes it seems as if the industry is fighting itself, and that property owners, service providers and end customers are being played off against each other, in terms of transparent pricing, capacity, availability, reservation and refund policies.
Demeure says it understands the critical roles played by each player in the vacation equation, and it has new techno-enabled ways to deliver prices, properties and service levels that customers can trust, through online fulfillment platforms it is calling Pay-With-Time, Demeure Auctions and Demeure On-Call.
The tools and innovations Demeure has come up with are proprietary in nature, and patent-pending, so there’s not a lot of detail available. But Demeure will say that its in-house technology team has created a purpose-built infrastructure for the villa rental business, based on open source and CRM software programs like Ruby on Rails and Salesforce.com. Dave Leonard is in charge of the company’s Information Technology efforts.
Salesforce.com delivers enterprise-level social and mobile cloud technology and applications for sales and customer relationship management, working from its U.S., Toronto and Vancouver offices. The company recently achieved more than $50 million in Canadian sales.
Ruby on Rails is an open source programming language that developers can use to ask questions and get answers from deep and complex databases – in Demeure’s case, its comprehensive listing of vacation properties can be queried about availability, capacity, pricing and scheduling by site visitors.
Demeure says it made its technological investments so it could deliver an integrated platform that handles everything from updating property availability, to managing reservations and inquiries, to processing payments securely online.
“Online travel is booming, but it suffers from some serious challenges that we’ve faced head-on with Demeure Marketplace,” explained company Chair and CEO Peter Schwartz (Schwartz is also Chairman of Laurence Capital Corporation (LCC), a Canadian-based private equity firm). “Whether you’re booking a trip or listing a property, you’ll spend countless hours of research across an endless number of websites. And in the end, it’s often impossible to trust the true value of what you’re buying or selling.”
So he’s come up with alternatives: Demeure Pay-With-Time tracks surplus home swap capacity all over the world, and lets property owners bid on a desired property using time at their own properties instead of cash – and getting as much as 85 per cent off of the cost of related travel booked through Demeure.
The company’s online marketplace also features an Auction centre, in which property owners can offer time at their properties at specified reserve prices and during specific periods, while inviting offers from members of Demeure’s online community.
Combining the best of online travel functionality with in –person advice and consultancy, Demeure has also launched its On-Call service for travelers (or property owners) who want expert advice and assistance with travel research, trip coordination and everything in-between.
Demeure Marketplace offers three service levels at different price points, including free.
Anyone can register for a free account to book a property or apply for listings among thousands of vacation homes, boutique hotels, yachts, and more in company’s portfolio of destinations.
There’s an annual membership that provides service access to the Auctions and Pay-With-Time features, with On-Call Advisors available for a modest fee.
But for the most demanding and discerning traveler, there’s an invitation only online package with top luxury properties and services, exclusive prices, priority booking for high-demand weeks, first pick at specials, and other special features.
Demeure has been providing travel related services since 2009.
submitted by Lee Rickwood