Monaker Group (MKGI): Tip of the Travel Industry Iceberg
December 6, 2016 1:36 pm ET
Global tourism is expected to grow at a modest 4% compound annual growth rate between 2014 and 2019, according to Euromonitor, but the $2.7 trillion industry is ripe for innovation. Priceline Group Inc.’s (NASDAQ: PCLN) has changed the way that people book hotels and airfare, while Airbnb is challenging the need to even use hotels when traveling. Investors may want to take note of these trends when looking for opportunities.
In this article, we will look at how Monaker Group Inc. (OTCQB: MKGI) has positioned itself as a leader in the alternative lodging rentals market with an innovative approach to the space.
Improving Upon Airbnb
Airbnb began in October 2007 when founders Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia made their living room into a bed and breakfast to help afford rent for their San Francisco loft. Since then, the company has evolved into a $30 billion tech giant that’s second only to Uber’s $68 billion valuation. The company’s massive growth has underscored the opportunity within the travel industry for innovation when it comes to alternative lodging rentals.
The problem with Airbnb is that most properties aren’t bookable in real-time, which means that travelers must wait for an owner to respond to requests and confirm bookings. While it may not seem like a big deal to budget travelers, those planning vacations prefer a more seamless experience like that of a hotel. Many online travel agents (OTAs) and airlines would also require real-time booking to integrate with their platforms down the road.
Monaker Group has contracted over 1.4 million alternative lodging rentals (ALRs) across Europe, Asia, South America, and the United States and provides real-time booking to travelers. By doing so, the company hopes to solve a key problem in the ALR marketplace and ultimately integrate with large OTAs and airlines to provide ALR access rather than just hotel listings. This could open the market to a much greater number of travelers than Airbnb reaches.
In August, the company announced an agreement with Trisept Solutions, a travel technology division of Mark Travel, to integrate with the NextTrip.com platform. Under the terms of the agreement, NextTrip.com’s 1.4 million ALRs will be integrated into TriSept’s various travel platforms. The integration should help jumpstart sales while proving the model for future integrations with other major travel sites.
Better Travel Experience
Monaker Group’s ambitions go beyond simply introducing real-time bookings to the ALR marketplace pioneered by Airbnb and VRBO. The company’s experienced management team has thought through every challenge faced by travelers and introduced many unique features designed to make the travel experience much more seamless. These features could propel its own website into an investment destination apart from its third-party network.
The company’s NextTrip.com planner enables users to import bookings from other websites, find nearby attractions, organize the details of a trip, and split the travel costs among many people depending on their participation. For example, you may visit Italy with a group of friends that go on different excursions but eat at the same restaurants. The costs could be split up between everyone depending on their excursions and organized in a single location.
NextTrip.com remains largely in development alongside its third-party syndication, which makes it appear as if the company is early-stage. However, it is important to note that management has been doing a lot of heavy lifting in the background by contracting with over 1.4 million ALRs and building a network of partners for its other services. Investors should factor in these dynamics when assigning a value to the stock.
Monaker Group trades with a market capitalization of under $25 million despite its significant potential within the travel industry. With plans to change the way that ALR booking takes place and introduce more comprehensive travel planning processes, the company could dramatically reshape how the industry operates and generate significant shareholder value. Investors may want to take a closer look at the opportunity given its early stage.