Heddi has 18 years of PR & Marketing experience – from travel & hospitality to TV, consumer retail, technology and music. Her credentials include co-launching the global phenomenon London Roadhouse Flair Bartending competitions (now in its 10th year); one of the youngest Conference Managers at Marriott Hotels; PR & Marketing Manager with Ronald Lauder’s CME (Nasdaq: CETV) in the embryonic years, a leading vertically integrated media company in Central and Eastern Europe; Consort Partners boutique PR & Creative Agency; single handedly managed the full PR & Marketing mix for 13 individually branded restaurants & bars whilst creating a successful tourism sales division for Maxwell’s Group (the UK’s largest independent restaurant group) which included a UK’wide exclusive Virgin Atlantic Vacation deal. She’s lived and worked in London, New York, Los Angeles & San Francisco. Her coverage includes MTV, VH1, USA Today, New York Times, BBC, LA Times, CNN, Maxim, Cosmopolitan and a ton of other major names.
Heddi created myTab’s concept in 2005 yet had to wait for PayPal & Facebook to become household names before she could launch! Her vision for myTab is to ensure travel dreams come true through inspiration & make environmental donations a mainstream objective. myTab.co – a social travel gift card where you can gift, save, plan, share and book all your travels. Guaranteed to keep your wallet fat and your travel plans stress free!
MO: Where did your passion come from to start your own company? Did you have any experience in or links to the travel industry before starting myTab.co?
Heddi: This is my first start up and it organically transpired. I came up with the idea in 2005, yet sat and waited until PayPal and Facebook were mainstream. The idea came to me during an interview one day. I realized that there’s no loyalty in travel since we’re all price obsessed and scrambling for the best deal. It’s an ongoing problem and never been addressed. With all the booking, planning and recommendation sites out there, no one had ever focused on price frustration. I found that insane! Yet with myTab’s platform, the planning, funding and booking process is so much easier since customers have cash in their myTab account – gifted and/or saved. I’ve worked in PR/Marketing nearly two decades in various industries yet primarily hospitality, travel and tourism so forming the creative process for myTab was a no brainer. It just flowed.
MO: If you don’t take a cut from the savings people put towards their travels how are you managing to make any money? What does your business model look like?
Heddi: We have a few business model revenues. This includes commission for travel bookings from the supplier; Match myCash revenues for matching customer’s dates/destination/funds to travel deals; selling combined statistical unique data to the industry. As we progress with mobile and tablet apps, we have a fantastic affiliate revenue platform stream up our sleeve. More to come soon on this…
MO: You didn’t have any tech experience before starting myTab.co. How big of an obstacle was that in starting your own website?
Heddi: It’s the same as in any industry – I found excellent engineers and developers who could create this with the myTab vision in mind. It was absolutely no obstacle and actually, was the easiest part of creating myTab! I do believe timing is everything and we hit the right time & place.
MO: Have you seen an increase in people setting up accounts now that Christmas is getting closer? Are people starting to get more comfortable with asking for travel money as a gift?
Heddi: Yes, customers are gravitating towards us and gifting friends/family travel cash. It’s rolling along just great. People are very ok about asking for travel cash. We ask for specific gifts all the time and we see so many Tweets about ‘I want a gift card’ or ‘I want xxx item from this store’ all the time so we’re just fitting into that realm. Think about baby showers, honeymoon/wedding registries and more – they are all asking for specific items. With myTab, we’re exactly the same.
MO: With constantly fluctuating travel prices how do you know when the correct amount has been reached on someone’s account?
Heddi: There are two core elements to myTab. The first is that customers can search travel on our website and redeem the funds towards a trip (powered by Expedia). They can also sit and wait for us to email them a deal matching their funds, dates and destination. That’s called Match myCash. So either way, the customer is getting a live price. Now with regards to fluctuating travel prices, we accommodate this based on average market rates that we aggregate from Expedia so when the customer creates a trip, they can click our ‘price calculator’ and see an average amount they’re aiming for. We account that prices will fluctuate yet as we grow, we’ll have autonomy and leverage with our Match MyCash as we’ll get exclusive deals for our customers that we’ve negotiated with the industry. Everyone wins :)
MO: What feature on myTab.co are you most proud of?
Heddi: I’m absolutely in love with all myTab’s features. It’s really hard to choose one because that’s like choosing your favorite child and we all know that’s very un-PC! I adore our vanity username, so gifters can just type in i.e. myTab.co/Emma and gift Emma direct without signing up. I adore our new ‘All Trips’ integrated map that’s launching by end of this month (Dec 2011) and I think our group travel planning tool is brilliant. Everyone can plan together with Facebook friends yet save & book separate so no one’s a stressed team leader, trying to recoup the funds back. Oh, and I just think our multi credit card top up feature is outstanding. So if you’re short of funds at the time of booking, you can top up funds through PayPal instantly between a few credit cards. How genius is that! What I’m most proud of is the website design, our logo (Kevin Bacon!) and our incredible team who just have nailed the concept of myTab beautifully. It’s a gorgeous revolutionary business and with a bundle of features in place, we just encapsulated the whole travel cycle into one website. It’s never been done before….until we came along!
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