Vail Valley entrepreneur builds a new kind of travel website
BEAVER CREEK — Tom Griffin has been in the online travel business since its earliest days. Now, Griffin believes he’s developed the next big thing in travel.
Griffin and a small team have developed iVeew, a travel site that can book virtually every element of a trip. The idea has generated a good bit of interest from both airline and hotel groups.
The idea, Griffin said, is to give both providers and travelers a one-portal way to essentially book an entire experience.
“This is the whole guest experience,” Griffin said. Slipping into industry-speak, Griffin said the idea is to use a “messaging platform to engage with guests to improve relationships.”
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What that means is that iVeew can help hotels sell guests spa treatments, restaurant reservations and more. The idea, Griffin said, is to make it easier for guests to interact with their hotel or condo complex.
The website has modules for maintenance, car valets, concierge service and more. There’s also a way for property managers to communicate with housekeeping and other departments.
And while it’s easy to move a trip to a phone’s screen, iVeew isn’t an app.
The iVeew system is already being used at a condo complex at Perdido Key in Florida. The system there allows guests to choose from 70 activities at the resort, including fishing and boat trips.
“No one else has a link that integrates directly” to all those services, Griffin said.
WORKING WITH ALEXA
Now, iVeew is looking for a local property to participate in the rollout of yet another function: a link through Amazon’s Echo platform. That voice assistant, Alexa, can describe restaurants and other amenities. If, for instance, the spa is booked that day, then the guest can receive a message if there’s a cancellation.
The deal iVeew is offering now to businesses includes an Echo Dot and free service through the ski season.
While iVeew is still in its early stages, Griffin said the company has been developing since 2014.
“Response has been great,” Griffin said. The company has a current relationship with Sabre, a travel technology firm. Griffin said there are also relationships in place with an airline group and deals with hotel groups are in the works.
The airline group can book multiple stops around the world. In fact, the group has an around-the-world package in which guests make six stops over 21 days.
The entire experience, from flights to rooms to meals to excursions, can be booked through iVeew.
Hotels are a big part of what iVeew does, particularly so those properties can book guests into additional amenities and activities.
The iVeew system can also personalize an experience for a traveler by storing information that will then be transmitted to a beacon at the concierge desk of a participating hotel.
Griffin noted that negative comments can affect lodging revenue. The iVeew system personalization allows businesses to respond in real time, before complaint reviews hit Trip Advisor or similar sites.
“It gives the business an opportunity to resolve issues before the guests leave,” he said.
All of this has been done with a small team of people, located around the globe. Since his colleagues are in Europe and Asia, Griffin said he usually works from 6 p.m. until about midnight and then is on the phone or email again from about 6 a.m. until 2 p.m. or so.
The iVeew system works with artificial intelligence to keep all those communications channels open. Once the system is set up, or a guest is in the system, the human work is essentially finished on the technology end.
“It’s geo-locating based on GPS technology and using Bluetooth,” Griffin said.
Griffin is working on the iVeew project with the energy required from any new venture. And, while he’s reluctant to talk about his age, he acknowledged that a lot of people at his stage in life are often interested in winding down their professional lives.
Mentioning that, Griffin smiles.
“I’m just not good at not doing anything, he said.
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