Brendon Schenecker is the CEO of Travel Vegas, a company dedicated to finding the best deals and promo codes in Las Vegas. The company’s app, TravelVegas, received the Best Mobile Experience Award at the Las Vegas Digital Media Awards in 2012. Brendon is also the owner of S.B. Marketing Inc., a business-to-business Internet consulting company.
MO: Where did the idea for Travel Vegas come from?
Brendon: It was really a logical pairing of two passions: hacking code from my couch and partying on the Vegas strip – two things I’d become proficient at! I really wanted to use these skills to help others, and I noticed that the city really didn’t have a tech-forward travel partner. We’ve set out to become a leader in the latest technologies and explore how they can enhance the travel experience.
MO: TravelVegas is the most downloaded app in Las Vegas. Why do you believe the app is so popular?
Brendon: I had been traveling to the city quite frequently over the past seven years due to a past Vegas-based venture. Having that background and being the one writing the code removed the barriers other companies face through outsourcing.
Every feature in the TravelVegas app was created to solve problems a traveler, like myself, faces. I think this deep understanding of the city sets the app apart. I feel that our app is easier to use and has more features than the competition’s. We really tried to make it an “all-in-one” tool. It has all the information to plan your trip and works as a concierge while you’re in town – not to mention that no one had really combined that style of content with discounts before.
MO: You personally coded everything for the TravelVegas app. What were some challenges you faced while creating it?
Brendon: Before I started coding the app for iOS, I’d never even used a Mac. It was an uphill battle from the start. I had also never programmed in C++ or anything similar. Every line of code was a challenge. I didn’t have a grasp of Objective-C for at least six months. It was a year-and-a-half-long basement-style hackathon. Without Google sending me to relevant Stackoverflow.com threads, I would not have gotten very far.
In the end, other than a successful app, I had a stronger confidence than ever that I could face any challenge. As an added bonus, I have a newfound appreciation for Apple’s standards, and I have been applying those to everything else I’ve coded.
MO: Why is it valuable for travelers to have reliable resources when traveling (especially for business)?
Brendon: There’s always time for some pleasure in Vegas, right? I actually don’t live in Vegas, but I am always there on business. One of the goals I achieved within the app was a very quick way to get directions. I am constantly using it to show cab drivers how to get places in a fraction of the time it would take to search the web.
And whether you’re in Vegas for business or pleasure, there are plenty of discounts and freebies to take advantage of. At any given time, there are over 75 deals, including free drinks, gambling credits, dining specials, and entertainment discounts.
MO: Your company works with an affiliate partner, Las Vegas Advisor, to bring the best deals to your customers. What is your advice for business owners thinking of partnering with another company?
Brendon: The second you have success, everyone and their uncles want a piece of you. I had always sworn I would never partner with anyone; if I wanted that, I may as well have climbed the corporate ladder. With that said, I would say 99 percent of my potential partnerships did not make sense for me.
This partnership has gone very well, and I attribute that, first and foremost, to the fact that it makes sense. My strengths complement their weaknesses, and vice versa. Secondly, there’s mutual respect, and we have compatible personalities. Lastly, I would say that it’s only a piece of total business revenue for each partner. This allows us to not sweat every penny and do whatever is needed to achieve long-term goals.
MO: What are your future goals for Travel Vegas? Where do you see it heading in the year ahead?
Brendon: We have many planned for the year ahead; our most important task is to improve what we’ve already released and launch on more platforms, such as Android. The next part is going to be very exciting. We’re working to launch a national travel deals website and mobile app – we’re just continuing to build on our successes and learn from our failures.
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