Manraj Rai, CEO of GOeureka, with the co-founders of the company.
Manraj Rai, CEO of GOeureka, discusses his company’s ambition to transform hotel bookings using Blockchain.
What does GOeureka do?
GOeureka is a travel tech company utilizing Blockchain technology to build a hotel booking platform.
What funds have you raised so far and when do you aim to launch services by?
We have $10.2m in committed funds and already have an alpha version of the hotel booking in test phase right now. The live booking platform will be ready by Q1 2019. Having said that the alpha version of our platform can already accept credit card bookings however we are limiting usage to a small group of beta tester and people within the organisation.
What kind of research led you to launch the company?
Research carried out by the founders which consisted of reading and analzying industry /travel sector reports and also getting first hand feedback from over 100 hotel managers and owners around the SEA region. We also worked closely with one of our partner firms Frost and Sullivan. Frost & Sullivan is a business consulting firm involved in market research and analysis, growth strategy consulting, and corporate training across multiple industries.
What are the main challenges in the hospitality industry that you hope to overcome using Blockchain technology?
Lack of transparency and overly complex hotel booking market place that is costing hotels up to 30% in commission pay out to third parties and driving high prices for consumer.
What are the major advantages for companies using this technology versus established technology?
Greater transparency – ERC20 smart contracts will be utilized for the security and immutability of data throughout the platform. To increase performance and keep transaction fees to a minimum, individual transactions and bookings will be kept outside of the blockchain. The settlement of all transactions will occur off-chain and fulfilled transactions will be aggregated each day and sent through the smart contract to be validated and stored on the blockchain.
More efficiency to drive cost savings that can then be passed on to service provider and consumer. GOeureka chose the Ethereum blockchain due to its flexible and extensible nature. The use of Ethereum smart contracts allows for the creation of “autonomous agents” that may be implemented throughout GOeureka’s platform to automate many processes and remove various third-parties that usually result in a slower process and multiple transaction fees that lead to high costs. While moving towards a fully decentralized platform, GOeureka will look into the adoption of key blockchain technologies such as zero knowledge proofs, off-chain computation solutions and recently introduced Ethereum technology like the Plasma and Raiden network.
What are the next big steps from GoEureka?
Updates and improvements are on going with the dev team working round the clock on a number of different things like new property integrations, enhanced search functionality, map view listings, payment gateway connections, smart contracts and much more.
That said, we already have a working web platform that has over 400k properties available for booking worldwide and have been using it internally to book our own hotel stays in cities like London, Dubai, New York, Singapore and Malaysia. We have also opened up test bookings to a group of beta testers and will be gathering and analysing their feedback over the coming weeks.
The current version only accepts payment via fiat so the next phase is very much focused on enabling crypto currency payments and testing bookings on the blockchain with our partner hotels. We are working closely with a few hotel partners for these test bookings and hope to have it rolled out in the next couple of months.
The focus for us now is to have a fully functional booking platform ready by the end of the year and this will come available with fiat and cryptocurrency bookings. Users holding GOeureka tokens or GOT will be able to utilise their tokens for hotel bookings by the end of the year so we are working hard to hit this deadline and be market ready.
The next piece of major work that we will focus on once the platform is deployed is the development of our mobile app, GO store, internal rewards programs, integration of hotel loyalty programs and to enable inteoperability of loyalty points.
Like any loyalty program we will reward the users for transactions made on our platform and every GOeureka user will accumulate reward points/credits for repeated bookings and these can then be used to unlock additional travel rewards like further discounted rates, free airport transfers, and so on. These rewards will not be limited to the GOeureka platform as we we are also working on collaborations/partnerships with other companies and plan to open up the usability of our points into the retail sector and across other areas of the hospitality industry.
We are also working with the hotel groups to help them promote their own hotel loyalty program and enable our users to earn loyalty points directly from the hotels even if they are booking via GOeureka. This is not currently widely available across online travel agents and will help to unlock further travel rewards for GOeureka users.
Where is your company based? How many staff do you have?
We are based in Singapore. We have three co-founders; four full time staff working on tech, project management, operations and strategy, dedicated tech team of five working on the development of smart contracts, booking platform etc, three partner agencies – round the clock PR, social and community management and nine advisors.
Where did the idea for GOeureka come from ?
I run a family business that supplies linens and uniforms to the hotel industry across South East Asia and he has had long standing relationships with various hotel groups in the region. This all started through his initial conversations with his hotel clients and led him to dig deeper into the online travel sector.
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