Ralph Melis, co-founder of ExploreTECH, a digital marketplace for the hospitality and travel industry, on the new venture creating a technology space for optimal search for buyers and sellers
Many businesses in the hospitality and travel industry are missing out on innovative solutions that could greatly benefit their business, simply due to the sheer volume of information and the sheer number of solutions and technology providers available. The way this information is presented makes it extremely difficult for most companies who are not technical experts to understand or explore and therefore verify whether a specific solution meets their specific needs.
Similarly, many technology vendors fail to reach their target audience or find themselves limited in the brand awareness and customer engagement they need to grow market share. Established vendors need a bigger local voice to expand into new regions, and many start-ups and smaller vendors are lost in the noise of a busy market, despite their immense potential.
There was a need for a single entity that could act as an accessible and credible means of engagement that could be part of an ongoing and cohesive strategy that allowed both parties to expand their reach and connect more effectively with their target audiences. .
Not all technology vendors actively optimize the marketing of their solutions due to the costs involved or miss out on lack of use of the right keywords. Additionally, when a vendor’s site is found, the information displayed may not highlight key features or allow a potential buyer to compare the solution with another comparable option in a unified and consistent manner. Also, to contact the seller, the potential buyer’s only option may be to fill out a contact form, which may or may not receive a quick response, and he does not know who he is addressing specifically, or they connect with the right solution provider.
Once the research is complete, whether by gathering content available online, and/or by connecting to several different vendors, and in order to assess which option is most suitable for the potential buyer, a comprehensive product comparison imposes itself. This requires a huge amount of time and resources, whether in-house or outsourced to an expert consultant.
Although ExploreTECH caters to different target audiences on both the buyer and seller side, the goal remains the same and that is to be the sole source of information.
Here’s one of the major benefits of ExploreTECH – by bringing together all available vendors in one place, on one platform, different types of buyers can research, review and compare multiple solutions in a unified way. With our comprehensive new product comparison tool, buyers will be able to see the most relevant information for their specific profile and tech stack and will be able to directly contact vendor representatives who offer what meets their needs.
These are some of the immediate benefits that are now available on the platform and we prefer to keep quiet about these new features as they will be disruptive and game-changing in achieving the same end goal of ExploreTECH – to be the single platform and source for multiple vendors. and buyers.
We created ExploreTECH with some distinct business personalities in mind on both the buyer and seller sides, and offer unique benefits to both, such as:
Buyers have a unified source of information across multiple vendors, with a broader reach, which ExploreTECH can offer beyond what is regionally accessible, or already well-known as technology solutions. They can also become the “Voice of the Experts” for consulting services and possible turnkey implementation, or even project support. ExploreTECH is the first bilingual platform of its kind in English and Arabic.
Suppliers benefit from the deep understanding of regional market dynamics and the strong existing network of founders working behind the scenes, as well as ExploreTECH’s integrated marketing campaigns and activities. Sellers can create comprehensive profiles for their brand and each of their products, making them more visible, increasing their brand awareness and allowing them to connect directly with potential buyers who contact them directly through the platform. They can use the tools and features provided in the ExploreTECH platform as a proactive sales tool; capture leads and assess their performance with dashboard analytics.
What has united us is our deep understanding of the region’s challenges and opportunities in commercial technology sourcing, from both the buyer and seller side. A quick look at our individual career paths highlights the value each of us brings to the business, and between us we have decades of hands-on experience on both the buyer’s side and the seller.
We are tech-savvy and believe strongly in the role technology can play in maximizing revenue, reducing operating costs and being efficient with available resources. We also observed insufficient research, review, analysis and decision-making due to limited resources or in-house expertise leading to inaccurate or misleading decisions by buyers, missed opportunities to identify the supplier of ideal solutions; especially for independent, national and regional brands. It made us realize that we need to broaden the reach beyond our direct contacts, simplify the process and broaden the reach for both stakeholders.
We needed to test and verify our business idea to make sure we could provide a real solution for our industry and region. We then wanted to listen to our actual target audience and created focus groups including both buyers and sellers to define what was currently missing and how the process can be streamlined and easily accessible to a wider audience. The result is ExploreTECH.
A start-up, especially when its technology is focused on agility, speed, and making the best use of available start-up funds to be able to respond quickly to changing needs and priorities to achieve that end goal. The ExploreTECH pre-seed fund was just under $1 million and these funds were needed to support the build and launch of our MVP, bringing together the best in technology development, marketing and operational support at the lowest cost. possible.
Going forward, and once we secure additional funds, our plan is to maintain a hybrid model, increasing the internal team by carefully choosing each new human asset that joins our journey.