Last week, business partners Don Takaya and Ian Cumming launched GetFlight.com.au. The site works by tracking and aggregating real-time sales fares from various airlines.
Don spoke to StartupSmart about the challenges of entering the online flight fares market.
How does the business work?
We display the discounted airfares from the four major airlines – Qantas, Virgin, Jetstar and Tiger – as well as some of the international carriers. International and domestic flight deals are shown in real time, directly from the airlines’ websites.
The system was built by Ian, who has been working on the idea for a few months. He has the experience in this area – he built up and sold Travellr.com.
How did the idea come about?
It was Ian’s brainchild and it came through the frustration of having no option to search and compare sales fares of the airlines.
We thought there should be a place for instant, transparent fares that are on sale. GetFlight only works with sale fares, directly from the airlines.
We don’t have fees for using the site, unlike WebJet. It’s a real one-stop shop for discounted fares, rather than having to go to lots of different airlines’ websites.
How have you funded it?
I don’t want to say how much it cost, but it’s a low capital business to fund. Ian has an IT consultancy called Insight4 and it has taken a stake, along with myself and two others.
We’ve been working on this from the start of this year. We both have other jobs – my background is in PR and marketing. Ian sold Travellr.com in 2009 and GetFlight is his main focus now.
I work around 10 hours a week on it. I have no idea how it will play out – we want to build it to a market leading position but we aren’t sure how far it will go.
How will you monetise it?
We’ve got a launch sponsor – Travel Insurance Director. Ian previously worked with them and set up the deal.
We are looking at getting more strategic partners on board once the deal runs out. We’re undecided at this point about how to monetise the site. We are in talks with other potential partners at the moment for advertising spots. Either way, the business has low operational costs.
How will you market it?
We’ve done a pretty good job on social media, such as Twitter and Facebook. We’ve tried to use word-of-mouth too.
We had 50 to 60 subscribers within the first few hours of launching. We don’t have any set numbers in terms of target, but there is no other site like it at the moment.
What’s been the hardest part of starting up?
Devoting the time to it. It’s just been about cranking it out after hours and at weekends. We work very well together and it’s just been a case of finding the best time to work on the site.
What are your plans for the business?
There is potential for overseas expansion, but we want to focus on Australia initially. We are keen to work with other airlines, so hopefully we’ll add to the ones we have soon.
Generally, Australians are booking more and more of their flights online, so we are in a good position.