On March 15, 2017, Monaker Group, Inc. (OTCQB: MKGI) gave a presentation at the 29th Annual ROTH Conference held in Dana Point, California. Bill Kerby, chairman and CEO of Monaker Group, made the presentation, covering what Monaker has accomplished, along with the company’s strategy and plans for 2017.
Florida-based Monaker Group considers itself a technology-driven travel company, with a B2B and B2C platform that offers a first-in-industry real-time system for the booking of Alternative Lodging Rentals (ALR), including vacation homes, resort residences, and unused timeshares. Importantly, the system integrates this with mainstream travel products and services, all on a single site. As a key engine for growth, Monaker has designed the approach to be compelling to major travel business partners as well as to end consumers.
Kerby began the presentation by explaining the value and potential of bringing, for the first time, ALR business into the mainstream travel industry. According to Kerby, Monaker has been working aggressively on building its ALR program for the past 15 months, based upon an online platform similar to Airbnb, but designed from scratch with greater functionality and flexibility. This is significant, since Airbnb has a market cap of roughly $31 billion. In addition, this work has been funded largely by Monaker’s own directors and key insiders, and they now feel they have the money in place to launch and take the company into profitability. For interested investors, MKGI is still in the small-cap range, with approximately 11 million shares outstanding.
The multi-billion dollar ALR market is the fastest growing travel sector, primarily because people increasingly view it as a preferable alternative to staying in hotels, offering more for the money, and yet it sits largely outside the traditional travel industry. Monaker’s innovation is to use superior digital technology to bring ALR into the mainstream travel industry in a way not currently available with any other platform. Currently, the overall global travel market is approximately $1.2 trillion, with the online services portion representing about $593 billion. The ALR sector has jumped from very little to $100 billion in just the past six years, and it is expected to grow to about $170 billion over the next couple of years.
People prefer the convenience and economy of ALR properties, and the soon-to-be-launched Monaker platform greatly exceeds Airbnb’s ALR by offering ALR properties with real-time booking and instant confirmation, versus consumers having to contact an ALR property owner and then wait and hope they get back in time in order to coordinate travel plans. Monaker lets consumers book ALR with instant confirmation, just as they would a hotel or plane travel. Monaker now has one million properties available for display, with another two million under contract, compared with Airbnb’s 2.5 million and Expedia’s Home Away at about 1.2 million.
Monaker will soon launch its platform on its NextTrip.com website and associated mobile app, with another critical factor being that the site will not only represent the best and most efficient portal for ALR properties, it will also offer 200,000 hotels and over 400 airlines, as well as all the major car rental companies, restaurants, cruise programs, tours and activities. As a result, it is expected to become the industry’s first and only one-stop shop offering instant confirmation for all types of travel booking.
Monaker will also be rolling out a Group Planner system, which will allow multiple individuals in a group to view travel plans, letting them participate and vote, and using PayPal to transfer any needed funds once ready to book. The system also offers rebates for booking and for trip feedback, generating an objective reference database for future travelers. The company will also be moving toward an optional Artificial Intelligence engine for smart travel planning based upon traveler preferences. Preliminary evaluations suggest that this AI option will significantly reduce the time required for planning and booking, but it will be a strictly optional offering so that users have complete discretion over the use of information.
A key driver for all of this, and especially the high-margin ALR business, is the large number of big-distributor partnerships that Monaker has developed. The company makes it easy and inviting for airlines, as well as cruise and tour operators, to access the Monaker property inventory, allowing them to flexibly pick and choose properties, adjusting the markups and fees they want to apply, and plugging it all into their own websites to present it exactly the way they prefer, and all with real-time booking. Monaker has also paired up with Mark Travel, the largest travel wholesaler in the U.S., to make the Monaker product available on its large VAX system, which is used by 70,000 travel agents. Monaker is also working with Recruiter.com, and its connection with nationwide business decision makers, to use Monaker products for company business and vacation travel.
Finally, Monaker also owns the major long-established upscale touring company Maupintour, offering luxury tours anywhere in the world. These are not just your typical tours, but customized private adventures for individuals or groups, with what the company considers the best professional tour planners in the business.
A replay of the live ROTH Conference is available at http://dtn.fm/Li0Vs.
For other information on Monaker Group, refer to www.MonakerGroup.com