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Monday, April 10, 2006

Q & A With Jim Schoonmaker CEO of

Last week I gave you a brief backgrounder on a new entrant in the local search landscape (SuperTour former Mok3) when I described the conversation I had with SuperTour CEO Jim Schoonmaker. Well, wait no longer, here are the results of my Q & A session with Jim, enjoy.

Q.) What is the business model behind SuperTour?

A.) In order to get this venture off the ground we picked the locations that provided the largest amount of revenue per square foot. This is how we decided on Miami and Las Vegas as our first two destinations. Once the destination is created we build a distribution relationship with the hotels to drive bookings from our destination travel portal to their properties and to improve their “look to book” ratios on their websites. These bookings are transacted through either our affiliations with the online travel agencies or the hotel’s own booking engine. This generates revenue through hotel commissions and affiliations with online travel agencies. As we expand our content, build out locations around the world, and generate more traffic we will evolve into an advertising model.

Q.) Is this a B2B or a Content play?

A.) It’s both really. We clearly are building a destination portal, which is differentiated by the digital walkthrough content, but we also provide our hotel SuperTours to the hotels for their websites as well. In either case we have a commission-based revenue model.

Q.) What makes SuperTour better / different than Microsoft’s Local Search or Google Local or Yahoo Local?

A.) SuperTour combines the 500-foot map view with a human level walking experience. Unlike those products we enable you to experience a place from the traveler’s perspective. We allow you to see what you would see if you were actually there, and then allow you to navigate that place as if you were walking the beach, shops or inside a hotel or restaurant. Local search tools don’t provide the ground level view with the level of visual fidelity that you find on Our focus and passion is to create an experience with such quality that the visitor actually experiences the destination or hotel and feels confident that their choice of destination or resort is the right one. The power of our technology is what allows us to build these high quality environments at a global scale.

Q.) How long does it take to add another major metropolitan area, including hotels, into the SuperTour backend?

A.) Miami, Florida and San Juan, Puerto Rico SuperTours are currently operational. Las Vegas is still in the process of development but the streets are available for preview. By the end of this year we will have 20 destinations and be launching a new destination at least every week. Destinations currently in the queue are the Bahamas, St Martin, Bermuda, Aruba, Barbados, Grand Cayman, Key West and Cancun.

Q.) What kind of proprietary technology do you have and how long did it take to develop it?

A.) SuperTour’s proprietary technology is called Panamorph and it allows users to rapidly create and edit photorealistic 3D scenes from 2D images in a fraction of the time and effort normally required to create 3D graphics. Panamorph’s visual linking technology then generates a digital walkthrough of hotel properties and their surroundings, delivering the next generation online travel buying experience to the savvy consumer. This technology has been in development for over three years.

Q.) Have you been awarded any patents? If so, please describe them as best you can.

A.) SuperTour’s technology is patent-pending.

Q.) Who’s funding this venture?

A.) SuperTour is a venture backed, privately held company. Series A round venture capital investors include Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Draper Fisher Jurvetson New England, Draper Atlantic, and Launchpad Venture Group.

By Jason Dowdell at 10:33 AM | Comments (0)

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