Before the opening bell, Monaker Group, Inc. (OTCQB: MKGI), a technology-driven travel company focused primarily on the alternative lodging rental (ALR) market, released a shareholder update outlining its progress throughout 2016, as well as its strategic objectives for the coming year. Some key highlights detailed in this morning’s update include:
- Completion of the company’s proprietary booking engine, which now conforms to all online travel industry standards to allow for easy business to business integration
- Procurement of an extensive collection of rental properties that currently includes over one million lodging options offering ‘real-time’ bookings and more than two million ALR properties
- Anticipated launch of NextTrip.com consumer platform in January 2017 alongside roll-out of business travel partners
- Release of new NextTrip mobile app for both Android and iOS scheduled for the end of January 2017
In addition to a brief overview of the company’s recent progress, this morning’s update included a letter to shareholders from Bill Kerby, chairman and chief executive officer of Monaker Group. After reflecting on the company’s progress during 2016 – including the buildout of its proprietary Monaker Booking Engine (MBE) and ‘plug and play’ application program interface (API), entry into contracts with lodging vendors for roughly two million rental properties and the elimination of over $10 million of debt to effectively strengthen its balance sheet – Kerby turned his attention toward Monaker Group’s future in the rapidly expanding ALR industry, which is on course to reach $169 billion by 2019.
“As the year draws to a close, we can confirm that we expect to launch our alternative lodging rental (ALR) business in January 2017,” Kerby stated in the news release. “This business will have two components. The first is our proprietary Monaker Booking Engine (MBE), which will allow both business travel partners and consumers to access our lodging products. Our other offering, NextTrip.com, is a direct-to-consumer platform that for the first time will provide real-time alternative lodging reservations that include access to all major mainstream travel products and services.”
Kerby and the Monaker Group management team expect both the MBE business solution and the NextTrip consumer platform to be “true game changers in the ALR industry” as a result of their focus on allowing for ‘real-time’ booking. Despite the rising popularity of ALR platforms such as Airbnb, most properties listed through these sites require approval from property owners to confirm bookings. This mechanic has, to this point, limited the integration of ALR listings into popular online travel agencies’ (OTA) service platforms. This issue, combined with a lack of ALR platforms that offer additional mainstream travel services such as flights, rental cars and tour packages, has created a market opportunity that Monaker Group intends to address in the coming months.
“NextTrip will solve both these issues, and, along with our MBE platform, should commence transactional business next month,” Kerby added. “The NextTrip platform has been designed to allow individuals and groups to search, share, converse and recommend vacation destinations, and earn instant “cash back” rewards when they book and contribute to the site… With such rich features, we expect that MBE and NextTrip will appeal to a far greater number of travelers and wholesale travel providers than any other ALR service — and help generate significant booking revenue for Monaker in 2017.”
For more information, visit www.MonakerGroup.com