As the months of spring go by, tourist season approaches. For most of us that means a long-awaited getaway. For people in the tourism sector, it means a pounding headache or three. A week.
In 2008, Jason Morehouse and Grant Jurgeneit came together to devise a platform to end those headaches. It wasn’t until June of 2010 that the first version of Checkfront was released to the public; now, nearly three years later, Checkfront is one of the most unsung Canadian success stories. This is likely because it is succeeding in an unglamorous industry.
Checkfront’s software is a platform for fully integrated online and mobile booking. This January, Checkfront entered into a partnership with Passbook; now, three months later, the full impact of that partnership can be felt. Checkfront currently processes around 3 million CAD per month in bookings on behalf of their customers; in the the past three months they've seen just shy of 1 million CAD worth of bookings made through their mobile interface.
In conversation, the pride the two men feel for their work is palpable.
“Around 70% of iOS users now download their booking to their device via Apple passbook. This is far more than we anticipated. The interesting part is that the percentage of mobile bookings is increasing each month, and with that the number of interactions with Apple Passbook.”
This new venture is not so much revolutionary as exponential; the decision was an easy one, quickly made, and quickly implemented, in the words of Jason Morehouse.
“It was very straightforward, to some degree. They’ve got an amazing developer community. We went through a lot of the hoops before, and we’ve very familiar with the iOS developer service. Though because Passbook was very new, we certainly didn’t have many places to look for how they’ve worked with it. We had to figure out the implementation side on our own. From there, it docked really good, the implementation went off as planned. We pushed it out to all of our customers, with the option to opt out, but we turned on, you could see the positive reaction. It went pretty quick--six weeks, from conception to release."
The service is now operating in 58 countries. Checkfront is found as frequently in Napa wineries as Costa Rica tree villages. Financially, the service has a free three-week trial, with a 30 day money-back guarantee. The takeoff has been astronomical in the past twelve months. Grant is as excited as his partner about the company’s success.
“It’s a magnitude difference with our growth, and our acceptance, and our reviews, we’re really getting sense of being in the right direction. There’s always that humbleness of how fast these markets can accelerate. Like (Jason) said, it’s such an exciting area to be in. The level of excitement is the same, because there’s so much to do, and so many new ideas, and watching everything evolve.”
What’s more impressive is that considering the competitiveness of the field, their attrition rate is under ten percent. Their explanation for their success is a straightforward one.
“Our focus is to sell to our customers, it’s easier than to sell to investors, if you don’t have the right business model, go to investors. If you do, the market will find you.”
As Checkfront’s story can attest, it can take years to become an overnight success. And according to the founders, the best is yet to come.
“I believe we’re in a leading position to really accelerate this company’s growth. It’s already on a tear. We have some really interesting ideas I wish I could share! Just keep an eye on us. See where this market goes,” Grant encourages.
Wherever it’s going, it’s going their way.
Note: Checkfront is looking for a Stellar Web Application Developer.