A Q&A with BSFG Travel co-founder and CEO Nick Scappini. The company was founded in 2010.
SUB: Please describe BSFG Travel, and the value proposition you bring to the travel market.
Scappini: The BSFG Travel Network is a network of travel sites providing niche vacation and adventure booking. Our network also gives users a daily dose of sports, entertainment and advice content relevant to their place in life. BabyShowerForGuys.com is the leadoff hitter in the BSFG Travel Network. BabyShowerForGuys.com will approach the online travel industry with the creation of a brand new holiday for expecting fathers—a baby shower for guys.
With the launch of BabyShowerForGuys.com, and subsequent sites targeted at other specific demographic groups, BSFG Travel will disrupt the online travel space by providing travel booking combined with editorial content targeted at very specific consumer segments. We plan to roll out destinations aimed at women, couples and more.
SUB: What types of travelers are your target market?
Scappini: For our initial site, we are targeting men ages 21-to-40, primarily fathers, expecting fathers and their friends. There are about 5 million expectant dads in the U.S.—they are our target demographic for the first niche site, BabyShowerForGuys.com.
SUB: Who do you consider to be your competition?
Scappini: We are the first ever travel company to provide targeted content and travel options for specific demographic segments. That being said, we consider all online travel agencies to be potential competitors.
SUB: What differentiates BSFG Travel from the competition?
Scappini: BabyShowerForGuys.com will provide users with hundreds of destinations, hotels, airfares, adventure travel, packages, and events all available for convenient booking. The site will feature community pages where men can get information about the best bars, sporting events and activities that will help make their getaway memorable. It also features content to help men plan their trip and help get the women in their lives on board with the idea of a Baby Shower For Guys. We expect our customers to visit our site on a daily basis, differentiating ourselves from the traditional online travel agencies that see users much less frequently.
Additionally, articles written for a male audience that cover pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, relationships and parenting are lacking online, forcing expectant fathers to visit sites that are aimed at women in order to educate themselves on these topics. BabyShowerForGuys.com is launching with a content-rich site that will provide our users with advice, entertainment and sports articles relevant to their place in life. The site will also include apparel sales to further reinforce the growing popularity of rewarding expectant fathers with a guys-only getaway to celebrate their entrance into parenthood.
SUB: What kind of market opportunity do you see in the online niche travel planning market?
Scappini: The online travel industry in the U.S. alone is predicted to reach more than $150 billion next year. Cornering just a sliver of that market is a huge business opportunity. That combined with the opportunity to create customer loyalty in an industry where there traditionally has been none and deliver content specialized for our consumer’s place in life, positions us for rapid growth and significant market share.
SUB: When was the company founded and what were the first steps you took to establishing it?
Scappini: We were founded in 2010 when I finally realized there was a real business opportunity behind the tradition I had built with my friends for celebrating a new pregnancy with a baby shower for guys. The idea evolved into so much more as I spent time immersing myself in the travel industry and leveraging my experience as a frequent business traveler. I eventually discovered the customer loyalty problem.
My business partner Eric Winters and I started building the brand, the business plan, and an outline for additional niche travel sites beyond BabyShowerForGuys.com. Once we had the foundation in place, we started to seek out funding and to execute on bringing the flagship site to market.
SUB: What was the inspiration behind the idea for BSFG Travel?
Scappini: When my wife got pregnant with our first child it hit me that I had a whole new opportunity to get away for a much-needed “Mancation.” I was feeling the pressures that many fathers feel when their lives are about to change with the arrival of a new baby. I knew that a getaway with my closest friends would help recharge my batteries so I could be a strong support for my wife through all of the new experiences of parenthood.
Plenty of couples take a babymoon when they are expecting their first child, but considering all of the anxiety and uncertainty that comes with becoming a new father, men really need a chance to let loose before they become slaves to the diaper bag. Six years ago marked my first baby shower for guys, and I’ve helped coordinate one with my friends every year since.
SUB: What have the most significant obstacles been so far to building the company?
Scappini: Navigating the shark-infested waters of securing investment capital has been a huge learning experience for us. Like any new startup we’ve faced many obstacles, but figuring out how to get funding and how that process works has been the biggest challenge, and a determining factor in how the business has evolved and changed preparing for launch.
SUB: You just launched your site, BabyShowerForGuys.com. Why was this a particularly good time to launch a new site?
Scappini: The online travel industry is ripe with opportunity for better serving consumers with targeted, specialized content and travel. We’ve put all of the necessary pieces in place to get the site ready for launch and it was time to pull the trigger.
SUB: Do you plan to raise outside funding in the near future?
Scappini: We are currently bootstrapped seeking angel investment. We’re in the process of securing our first angel investment and plan to use that money to grow the existing business and launch subsequent sites.
SUB: Where are your goals for BSFG Travel over the next year or so?
Scappini: Our first metric for success is to create a loyal base of consumers who come to our site every day for content relevant to their place in life. Eventually, these users will book travel with us, and help us to create the new category of Baby Showers For Guys. In the coming year we will be seen as a strong emerging player in online travel, as well as a disruptor in the industry.
In 2012, we will launch our second niche site targeted at expectant mothers, and be preparing for the launch of additional sites. We also expect to have secured our first round of angel investing.
BSFG Travel – www.babyshowerforguys.com