With extensive experience in tourism, both Maisa Fernandez and Sarah Fazendin realized something was missing linking boutique hotels in emerging markets and buyers in North America, so they set out to create Globa.li. Fernandez says they realized that within the emerging markets they were working in—Africa, Latin America, Asia— there was “a huge disconnect with getting inventory out to the buyers. We thought that there had to be a better way to allow these small, boutique hotels to get in front of the top buyers out there.”
So in early February, the women came together to create an “all-encompassing marketplace for boutique hotels in emerging markets to access buyers,” says Fernandez, co-founder and COO for Globa.li. “We have found a niche in that space, since top hotels in some of these areas aren’t bookable online. Many of the products don’t sell directly to the consumer.”
In essence, Globa.li is a B2B boutique hotels booking platform currently in beta mode that links hotels and distributors. Hotels can set up a distribution channel through the system and create a commission structure for the agent, operator or wholesaler working with them.
The site is set to launch in November at the PhoCusWright conference in Fort Lauderdale and is currently testing about 160 hotels in Africa, primarily in East and Southern Africa’s “key safari” countries likes Botswana, Kenya, Mozambique and Tanzania.
“We know the markets; we know the hotels and the players very personally. And it is also one of the more complicated destinations out there,” Fernandez says. “We know that if we tested the platform there, we would get some really solid learnings as we move into some other destinations that maybe aren’t quite so complicated.”
The site is currently only accepting a limited number of agents and operators to test the system. Another bonus is that hotels who join the site only pay per booking made. Fernandez says that the feedback they have received from users is that they enjoy the feature of being able to search multiple hotels at once.
“The hotels are excited about the opportunity to reach more buyers, new buyers that they maybe haven’t connected with before and perhaps offer a higher level of service to their existing agents and operators,” she says.
Taking a look at the beta site, one of the features that stands out is the flexibility with details, allowing agents to search for numerous hotels in the same region and choose the best fit for their client, depending on the length of stay and number of guests, with options such as transfers or dining added on, creating a full itinerary.
“Agents currently working on it love it. They think it’s extremely robust in terms of contracting, shortening the time,” Fernandez says.
Since the commission structure and agency discounts vary for each user, Globa.li is requiring every agent registered to connect directly to the hotels they are going to buy and sell from. The site creates a messaging environment and agents create profiles to track all of the hotel information and bookings. Agents can also invite hotels to join Globa.li, which are then subject to the site’s approval.
“In this test phase, it’s just important for us to understand who the buyers are and what they’re looking for so we can make sure our enterprise product when it launches in November is the best and will serve the broadest audience.”
Agents interested in joining can request a beta invitation at globa.li.