If there's a sure sign that shows how interest in online flash sales have waned, it's how many daily deal sites have either deadpooled or pivoted away from that particular business model. Indeed since 2012 the daily deal model have been observed to be dying a slow death
, and even industry players agree an overhaul of their business models is due
in order for them to survive.
And so it was with Singapore-based startup TheLuxeNomad.com
, originally a private flash sales site for luxury hotels and other premium travel accommodations at discounts of up to 70 percent, has expanded to 24/7 rates for hotels and resorts, as well as enabling live bookings on selected villas which traditionally required the rather obsolete TT payment mode.
"The key to running any business is that you are continuously growing and adapting to consumer demands and behavior," muses TheLuxeNomad
founder and Chief Nomad, Stephanie Chai. "Initially, our main focus was on flash sales which worked well as a USP because these were deals you could not find elsewhere. The catch however, was that they only ever lasted two weeks at a time. Whilst this segment appeals greatly to the deal-savvy traveller, we found there is also a growing segment that is not price sensitive and prefer to book at any point in the day." With this pivot, Chai explains, the startup now covers different ends of the luxury travel market. While it still offers weekly time-limited flash sales, the additional features offers its members a wider choice in properties that can be booked any time. The live chat function, for example, provides customer service that allows its representatives to offer a range of advice from recommendations on properties to personal travel tips on choice destinations.
It has also launched an online travel magazine - combining content and e-commerce - that provides travel fashion and style, industry news, city guides and reviews from celebrity nomads and online influencers (including Taiwanese actor Godfrey Gao, Singapore tastemaker and cultural entrepreneur, Tracy Phillips, and Hong Kong supermodel Jocelyn Luko) that essentially helps drum up even more up-selling and cross-selling opportunities. "The challenge every e-commerce site has is that you are always selling so if someone isn’t in the mood to shop, they’re not going to your site. The answer to keep them coming back is quality content," Chai states. "The online magazine is a good way to break up the monotony of e-commerce with alluring and visually captivating content from our celebrity nomads and team of curators. With content, we provide members a reason to come back to our site even when they aren’t looking for a holiday – yet.”
Originally launched in mid 2012, today the site offers over 400 properties across Asia Pacific and Europe and has also grown it's original founding team of two members to the ten across three regional offices in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong. The company has since raised over SGD1 million in funding.
That pivot may have changed TheLuxeNomad
's fortunes - it has tripled its revenues in the short period of June to December 2013.
Daniel Goh is the founder and chief editor of Young | Upstarts, as well as an F&B entrepreneur. Daniel has a background in public relations, and is interested in issues in entrepreneurship, small business, marketing, public relations and the online space. He can be reached at daniel [at] youngupstarts [dot] com.