More and more tourists choose their destinations and accommodation on the basis of online photos and videos. The higher the quality they manage to convey, the more likely the customer is to select the destination in question.
The founding trio of Visualizer realised this in a brainstorming session a couple of years ago. The increasing popularity of tablets added impetus to the vision of Kimmo Kaitala, Joel Hakuli and Markus Kauppinen.
"We had toyed with the idea before, but the technology and customers were not ready until now. People are increasingly using mobile devices to surf hotel and tourism options online. This requires powerful devices and stable data connections," comments CEO Kaitala.
He also points out that Visualizer's services are not limited to panorama photographs and virtual tours. Such services are a dime a dozen in today's market.
"What we offer is a monthly subscription to a cloud service that enables management of all of the client's digital marketing materials on a single platform. In addition to sales and marketing, the same materials can be used to train personnel, for example," Kaitala says.
Plenty of growth potential
The Finnish start-up has enjoyed fast growth over the last year. Turnover is about to double to EUR 300,000 and the firm expects to reach the one million milestone in 2016. Their goal for 2020 is turnover of EUR 20 million.
The CEO views this goal as realistic because the hotel market is immense on a global scale. In addition, large chains are continuously seeking means of improving their operational efficiency and differentiating themselves.
The company currently has some 300 hotels in ten countries as customers. Its portfolio includes the Barceló, Restel and Sokotel chains. According to Kaitala, this means that it has crossed the credibility threshold.
"In Spain alone, each of the most popular cities has more hotels than the Nordic countries have in total. This opens up opportunities in other sectors as well, for example in real estate," Kaitala points out.
Tekes provides valuable support
Although the founders of Visualizer have backgrounds in Nokia and the tourism industry, as it has grown the company has also received expert support and funding from Tekes. According to the CEO, Tekes' funding of slightly under EUR 100 000 was vital to the technological development and credibility of this young company.
The company also received international recognition in the early summer, when it was included on the Red Herring Europe Top 100 list. The Top 100 awards highlight the start-ups with the most growth potential.
"We are also seeking to continue our cooperation with Tekes. We are currently applying for Young Innovative Companies funding for internationalisation," Kaitala says.
For further information, please contact
kimmo.kaitala (at) 360visualizer.com
tel. +358 40 545 0020