We are a Silicon Valley-based company building a Web 2.0-based Global Distribution System (GDS) for the $95B Groups & Meetings Travel Services Market (Source: PhocusWright 2007), which is comprised of lodging, airline, ground transportation, activities, food, cruise and tour components. Our initial focus is on Ground Transportation, which is an ‘anchor’ leg for majority of Group Travel services package.
The Group Travel Services market, in general, and the Ground Transportation segment, in particular, are under-served and under-invested. While there is a plethora of portals – Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz – to serve travel service needs of individuals, business travelers and family units, Group Travel continues to be a ‘high touch’ operation with more than 90% of the bookings handled off-line with e-mail, fax, phone calls etc.
The Ground Transportation segment for Group Travel is estimated to be $8B+ in annual revenues in the US alone. This segment is primarily served by the Motor-coach or Bus industry and is comprised of Bus Charters ($4B), Bus Tours ($2B), and Bus Trips ($1.5B). With more than 85% of tours and tickets and more than 98% of the charters booked off-line, this segment could benefit immensely from an Internet-based Booking system.
Our Web 2.0 Platform - Accelaratetm
We have built a Travel Services Platform - Accelaratetm - based on Web 2.0 technology to enable:
- On-line booking of Motor Coach Charters, Tours and Trips and
- Dynamic packaging of the various Group Travel Service components. We have used the Accelaratetm platform to design, develop and deliver a comprehensive booking system - or GDS - for Ground Transportation sector. We project our Addressable Market to grow from ~$610M in ’09 to $4.2B in 2014 representing 47% CAGR - enabled by our state-of-the-art Internet-based Booking System.
While our core market – Ground Transportation services for Group Travel - is very attractive for its scale and projected growth, it represents only a small fraction of the total spend on Group Travel service revenues for adjacent services – airlines, hotels, activities, and food - anchored by the Ground Transportation Segment. Accelar estimates these adjacent Travel services to represent another $30B+ of addressable service revenues for the portals it delivers.
Our Accelaratetm platform is modular and designed with Web 2.0 widgets, which could be dynamically compiled and assembled to deliver Portals, Websites, and/or Widgets for deployment on other Web 2.0 sites. We have designed, developed and delivered several widgets for lead-generation and on-line booking of Motor Coach Charters, Tours and Trips. The platform also leverages the power of Web 2.0 technology with mash-ups, XML and RSS feeds and Blogs to incorporate and integrate other widgets.
Evolution of our Platform Services
Over the course of the past two years, our platform has undergone three major evolutions:
- 2007 : Interactive, Trip-planning and Lead-generation Website for Regional Operator
- 2008 : Lead-generation Portal for Nation-wide Association of Motor Coach Operators
- 2009 : On-line booking of Tours (Q1), Trips (Q1) and Charters (Q2/Q3, 2009)
With the launch of On-line Charter booking in July 2009, Accelaratetm has arguably become the most powerful and most comprehensive Travel Services platform for the Motor Coach industry.
The Accelaratetm platform has been deployed by more than 20 customers for lead-generation as well as on-line booking services and has been in operation for more than two years. The portals, websites and widgets - powered by Accelar - are designed as white-labeled components and have been deployed by our customers with their own branding. Portals, websites and widgets delivered by Accelar are generating more than $1M of Ground Transportation Service revenues a month.
Over the course of the past two years, we have acquired deep knowledge and keen understanding of the Motor Coach industry. We have parlayed that experience to bring a number of innovative ideas to the Motor Coach industry:
- 'Closed loop' Lead - or RFQ - management system
- Google map-based Trip/Itinerary planning
- Instant pricing and quotation
- Instant booking of Charters, Tours and Trips
The Motor Coach industry is heavily fragmented with more than 3,500 Motor Coach operators serving the $8B industry. This fragmentation and surprising lack of a strong National or even Regional brand has created a unique opportunity for us - launch of our own branded portal to offer Nation-wide Services to Consumers, Groups and Meetings markets. We have launched three portals to address the three primary services offered by the Motor Coach industry:
- MyCharterBus - Motor Coach charters for Groups and Meetings markets
- MyTourBus -Motor Coach Tour Booking for Individuals and Family Units
- MyTripTiks - Individual tickets for Fixed Route services
The Accelar GDS - made up of these portals - is truly revolutionary for the innovation, comprehensiveness and in-depth inner workings of the Motor Coach industry it captures. With more than two years of experience in building, delivering, deploying and managing various on-line services - lead-generation, pricing, quotation and booking - for the Motor Coach industry, our Platform and Portals provide a level of sophistication and maturity to the Motor Coach Industry that is 'miles and miles' ahead of any other solution currently available.
While there are many lead-generation sites - BusRates.com, CoachQuote.com, et al - currently available, there is no other system that offers:
- Lead-generation, on-line pricing & quotation, and on-line booking
- Charters, Tours & Trips services
- Widgets, Websites and Portals that can be configured in a very flexible manner to meet the needs of our customers and partners
- On-line marketing tools - SEO, SEM, PPC and Social Media - that are integral components of our system
Much like Orbitz combined the power of an Airline GDS system with a Consumer-facing Portal, we at Accelar have integrated GDS for the Motor Coach Industry with Consumer-facing Portals to provide a new, unique, innovative and exciting solution to the Motor Coach industry and to the various Groups & Meetings customer segments we address.
The Motor Coach industry’s one-and-only Online Charter Booking portal - designed, developed and marketed by Accelar - that has delivered an impressive array of industry firsts:
- Instant price / quote for any Charter service anywhere across the US
- Instant booking of Charters with any one of more than 120 operators all across the US in our database
- Instant Payment with Credit / Debit Card or Express Checkout via PayPal
MyCharterBus.com is the equivalent of Hotels.com for our industry. Since its launch in late 2009, MyCharterBus.com has gathered a lot of momentum and we continue to book charters at a faster pace each month. We all are familiar with Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz and other portals that help us plan and book airline, hotels, rental cars for leisure and business travel needs. These travel sites / portals have enabled more than 60% of all travel bookings for individuals and families to be conducted online. With less than 5% of motor coach charter bookings done online, our industry has a long way to go towards automating the charter booking process. MyCharterBus.com is the first portal to enable complete automation of the process.
Consumer Facing Portals
Launched in late 2009 offering fans of the San Francisco 49ers game day packages including round-trip luxury motor coach transportation, game tickets, and access to the official San Francisco 49ers tailgate party. Promotional items from sponsors and raffle prizes were given away as part of package. With over ten pickup locations across Northern California, the service provided fans the ultimate game day experience.
Accelar Inc. partnered with six leading ski resorts and ten lodging property owners in Reno-Tahoe offering skiers and snowboarders vacation packages including round-trip luxury motor coach transportation, lift tickets, and lodging. Winter vacationers were given flexibility choosing from the most premier ski resorts and lodging properties in the area. The portal was launched to enhance the winter vacationer’s experience by providing comfort, convenience, and value.