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Hard work rewards home-brewed deals website

A couple of country-based entrepreneurial families have come above the radar to expand their innovative daily deals website.

Jock Anderson
Tue, 12 Mar 2013

A couple of country-based entrepreneurial families have come above the radar to expand their innovative daily deals website.

After two years of a “hard-working number 8 wire approach” focused around mainly Queenstown attractions, owners James Alder from Gisborne and Nick Reekie, of Darfield in central Canterbury, have reached out to the rest of New Zealand and Australia.

Their expansion now includes deals throughout New Zealand, including in Auckland, Waiheke, Rotorua and Taupo, and into Australia.

While corporate media giants launched daily deal sites in 2010 off the back of the Groupon boom in the United States, Messrs Alder and Reekie and their small team of Kiwi entrepreneurs quietly switched on their “home-brewed” solution.

Founder Mr Alder told NBR ONLINE the secret to Bookme’s success is a cocktail of several clever features he says “clearly differentiates” it from other daily deal sites and make the offering what he describes as “a more sustainable world first”.

He says Bookme gives businesses the ability to more precisely control the deals they offer, which in turn guarantees better use of resources.

As well as cut-price specials when they are on offer, the site still sells products at full price when deals are not running.

Up to 95% of sales

Mr Alder says some clients are now making up to 95% of their sales through Bookme at full price.

“Businesses maintain a listing on Bookme year round. Because we are not trying to make our money in one day, we can look long term to set commissions at a more realistic level than the 20% to 30% demanded of daily deal sites.

“Because businesses are doing well out of it consumers win, too. The more targeted approach to deals, and lower commission, means businesses can afford to run better deals, such as $1 jet boat seats and $10 Waiheke wine tours.”

He says consumers know what they are going to get when they buy on Bookme because there is no niggle around sorting out a date which suits or wasting money with coupons which expire.

Bookme provides a stronger information source for consumers, partly because of its unique review system, which only permits reviews if someone has “booked, paid and participated” through the site.

“So consumers know the reviews they are reading are authentic,” Mr Alder says.

Because they can prompt people to leave a review on a product they have booked, he says Bookme is out-performing giants such as Trip Advisor in terms of the number of reviews generated for clients in all established New Zealand markets.

Far from complacent as a result of early success, Mr Alder knows there is a narrowing window of opportunity to make the most of Bookme’s “first mover” advantage.

He says they and their families have pinned their ears back and are prepared for another full-on couple of years of hard work and expansion.

“We are learning new things all the time, but Nick and I have been involved in tourism for a more than a collective 32 years and we reckon this gives us a good head start in knowing where the opportunies are.” 

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Jock Anderson
Tue, 12 Mar 2013
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Hard work rewards home-brewed deals website