Big travel companies had higher priorities than to share data among one another. That’s one of the reasons Journera didn’t succeed.
Seven-year-old travel tech startup Journera, which aimed to provide data to hotels and airlines to enable seamless customer trips, announced Thursday that it ceased operations.
The company said it didn’t see a path to profitability. The number of employees impacted were in the “low-20s,” Journera founder and CEO Jeffrey Katz told Skift Friday.
Katz said there were several reasons Journera couldn’t scale profitably. Among them were the pandemic, the introduction of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) in the European Union, and high-profile data breaches that rocked many brands.
“We survived them, but not enough for profitability,” Katz said, adding that timing can be a factor in the trajectory of any startup.
Strong Connections and Funding
Katz came into the business with lots of industry connections, having previously been a vice president of American Airlines, president of Sabre, and founding CEO of Orbitz. The shutdown of the business came despite partnerships with Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, IHG and American Airlines.
The company, based in the U.S. Midwest, raised more than $30 million in funding from high-profile investors such as Par Capital Management, the Boston Consulting Group, Pritzker Group Venture Capital, Andreessen Horowitz and others.
The vision of Journera was to enable companies to share data to smooth out the customer experience and upsell with products and services. For example, American Airlines might inform Hilton that its passenger might be three hours late because of a flight delay.
One former Journera executive told Skift that the customer data Journera obtained from its partners was great, but that its product needed refining. In the American Airlines-Hilton example above, he said, Hilton would likely hold the room for the guest anyway because it had their credit card information.
Katz said another aim of the data sharing would be for brands to learn more about a customer’s journey than they could get from their own data.
Other use cases also didn’t get enough traction, he said. For example, when a passenger boarded a plane, then perhaps the hotel could send them a digital room key in the hotel app, thus increasing app usage. Or when a guest checked out of a hotel, then an airline could send them an offer for a seat upgrade at a discount.
“These use cases couldn’t bubble up to be the highest priority” at scale, Katz said.