BY CLARA DE MELO.– The founder of one of the European best platforms, that puts hotels in contact with users, meet us in a sunny afternoon on the terrace of the Hotel Catalonia Barcelona Plaza at plaza España in Barcelona.
He proudly tell us that a few months ago (in March) Wanup received the "Best eCommerce Start Up" and "Best eCommerce the Gold Year" in the eAwards of 2017.
Once we introduced each other, we place the camera at a good angle, try the micro and start the interview.
QHE- What is Wanup?
Wanup is a loyalty club which includes a large number of independent hotels and hotels groups on a single website. That is the big difference between Wanup and the rest of competitors; they only include hotel from their own networks.
QHE- How and when did the idea come up?
The idea came from the Catalonia Hotels & Resorts in 2015. We had been wanting to create a loyalty club for some time. So we believed that to differentiate ourselves from the other colleagues –who are unhappy with their own management–, it was necessary to get the diversity that does not have one hotel club like Catalonia, with almost 70 hotels in more than 15 destinations. Therefore, we decided to create Wanup.
QHE- Why in Barcelona?
For many reasons. The headquarters of Catalonia Hotels & Resorts is in Barcelona. It is a perfect place to start an electronics company –because of the many technical profiles you can find– and it is a tourist attraction. That is why we choose Barcelona to be the headquarters of Wanup.
QHE- How can you offer an exclusive selection of hotels with the best price and immediate benefits?
Wanup wants to be an exclusive club offering high-quality services at the best price. We offer the best quality by having a specific selection of hotels based on their online reputation. The best price is obtained by requesting the hotels their best offer (Best Available Rate), so the user can be rewarded immediately: for each purchase, they accumulate travel cash on Wanup, that will use on the next purchases.
QHE- What is the difference between Booking or Expedia?
A reservation in Wanup has a commission between 3 percent and 6 percent, which is returned to the client immediately as a travel cash –with what the final cost for is zero if the client continues using the platform–.
A reservation in an online agency –Booking or Expedia– has a cost between 15 percent and 30 percent of the reservation price. These companies base their prizes on a 'points system' that does not translate immediately into travel cash.
Wanup not only rewards with this kind of money, it also improves the user's experience. An example: if in the welcome pack of a hotel there is, usually, a piece of fruit, but Wanup knows you do not like fruit, we change it to something else.
QHE- Wanup just has turned one year old. What are your impressions of this first year?
We are satisfied with the work we have done. At the moment, more than 800 hotels and 800,000 members are part of Wanup. That makes us very happy and, we think we will have a promising future that will allow us to continue expanding our associations.
QHE- Why do you think that the loyalty clubs of the hotels do not work?
I think it is because of a lack of capillarity and diversity in the offers. But Wanup looks for all of these: the more offer and, in more countries we are present, the more enriched the club will be and the greater added value our members will have.
QHE- How are the traveler's consumption habits evolving?
There is a lot of talk about the millennial traveller (a generation of people born between 1980 and 1990). The user who is already working and has different habits from other generations.
They value the experience. While others generations want to have everything sort out (same slippers, same newspaper...), the millennial like diversity, be able to choose certain things and, obviously, have experiences not only physical, but also digital (wireless solutions, smart suitcases, have an online counselor, benefit from installments, etc.).
QHE- How would you describe your loyal costumer?
In terms of buying services, products and experiences, loyalty has changed a bit. The client looks for the variety and it is difficult to find fidelity on that.
Without forgetting what the client is interested in, Wanup rewards loyalty behaviors with travel cash, with improvements in the user's status in the platform and with benefits in the experience. It is the perfect way to combine variety and fidelity; something that until now was far away.
QHE- How can you convince the reader to register and use Wanup?
Being part of Wanup is free for all its members. You just have to register at Wanup website and, immediately, you will receive 10 euros in your next reservation. In addition to this benefit, when you book at any of the Wanup hotels, you will also get cash and a personalized service, among others things.
QHE- How do club members increase hotels?
In four different ways:
It is an incentive that is used for Wanup, so that the hotels are the best ambassadors of the platform. Both receptionists and directors sell the benefits of the loyalty club and are rewarded with travel cash for future reservations.
"There is no better ambassador than someone who uses the platform and can tell his/her own personal experience", says Vallet.
For this reason, for each member's membership, Wanup discounts with travel cash: "There are cases of people who are accumulating between 70 and 80 euros per month".
QHE- In which countries do you have the most clients?
Spain and Italy, which are the countries where we have more hotels. In Spain, Catalonia provides us with a significant number of clients, too.
QHE- Among the values of Wanup, "optimism, honesty, proactivity and originality" stand out. Which of these values does Guillermo Vallet identify himself?
Can I choose all of them? –He laughs–.
QHE- (Laughing) No, you must choose one...
Well, the truth is that I consider myself a very honest person. I like to be serious and know that I can accomplish what I say.
I would also choose originality. I believe the project is original and novel and it is widely recognized in the sector. Many members fit our speech very much and they tell us: "How could it be that this didn't occur to me?".
QHE- Does Guillermo Vallet have new projects in mind?
Not yet. The Wanup project is very ambitious and big. It requires a lot of time and right now I can not afford to start new things when we have a big task ahead of us. Until it is well consolidated, we do not want to open new melons.
GETTING PERSONAL, BY ANNABEL SAAVEDRA
Yes. When I like something, I do not usually look for something else.
A safari in Kenya.
A soul a uniqueness.
The last television show I've watched with my wife has been "Thirteen reasons why", which is a pretty tough show. It has a very good side, especially for parents who have teenagers at home. The plot talks about what happens in high schools and about all the teenagers suffering as a result of the phenomenon of viral videos.
I love La Cerdanya (Catalonia).
I really like to plan trips, especially... the restaurants! And I also usually ask people who have already been where I want to go.
Golf. Since it is a time-consuming sport, it is always a good idea to share it with family and friends.
With spicy, always!
It was a story that my father told me and now, I told my daughters: "The jumping dwarf". I always added my sister and me in the story... It was fun and very endearing.
To be able to continue feeling young and have that desire to enjoy life.