Offonhols.com: Ian Vaughan

Co-founder Ian Vaughan talks bootstrapping his holiday deals platform and why offering users a unique incentive will help him break away from the competition

Name: Ian Vaughan
Company name: Offonhols.com 
Location: Wales
Date launched: 01/11/14
Number of Employees: 2
Website: www.offonhols.com

Tell us what your business does:

Offonhols.com is a travel deals website where our community can post, find and share great travel deals. It’s the first of its kind in the travel sector as it allows its members to earn money from sharing travel deals they have found online, which they normally would have done for free.

Where did the idea for your business come from?

Lots of people look online every day for holiday, hotel and flight deals either for themselves, or for friends and family; we wanted to create a website that allows them to easily share the deals they find.

Other sites do this – like voucher websites and forums – but none reward their users for posting or sharing deals. That’s what we are about: creating a great travel deals website that also rewards our users for contributing to the site by sharing any commission generated with them.

How did you know there was a market for it?

The holiday industry is an enormous market and there are many sites that act as holiday deal platforms so it is clear that there is potential market for our company. However, by rewarding our users we hope to get the best content and traffic – and advance ahead of the competition.

What were you doing before starting up?

My business partner James and I were working in local government, in fact we still are whilst we continue to grow and develop the website.

Have you always wanted to run your own business?

Yes I have always had a passion for it, it was just finding the right concept and running with it.

How did you raise the money?

We bootstrapped all of the funding required for the project from savings, doing all of the technical work in house.

Describe your business model and how you make money:

Our business model uses a number of income streams such as affiliate marketing, sponsorship and lead generation.

What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?

Building the bespoke platform has taken us around nine months and we are really happy with it as there are lots of complex parts behind the scenes that make the site so powerful and accessible for the end user.

Travel is a competitive market and the biggest challenge we face is getting the word out to consumers that we exist and how they can earn money by sharing and posting travel deals on our site.

What was your first big breakthrough

Our biggest breakthrough to date was signing our first affiliate travel partner, which gave us confidence that we were onto a winning and unique concept.

What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?

Never give up, if it was easy to make money we would all be millionaires!

Where do you want to be in five years’ time?

We want to be positioning ourselves as a major travel deals destination and generating significant annual revenue. We want to look back and see how we shook up the affiliate marketing by making every web user a potential affiliate marketer.

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