During our most recent trip to Hong Kong as part of our 2017 #TaiwanRocks tour to RISE Conference, we dropped by the Tink Labs office to learn more about how they're disrupting the hotel industry.
On the road to success, many startups struggle to find their worth or value in the world. For Tink Labs, it was a shift in thinking and a creative business model that allowed their product, Handy, a cell phone for tourists, to become successful and reach all corners of the world. We’ve distilled some learnings from Tink Labs’ business evolution below:
Keep your Eye on the Target!
It’s common knowledge that most startups will eventually need to pivot at one point or another. However, pivoting does not necessarily mean starting from scratch. Instead, you might have to reach your target demographic more creatively, or as in the case of Tink Labs, switching to a completely different business model.
Tink Labs originally positioned its flagship product, Handy, as a rentable cell phone that allows tourists to make calls and access the internet in a foreign country. After several months of renting Handy at airport kiosks with lackluster results, Tink Labs was forced to reassess their business model.
Instead of paying pricey airport fees to target tired tourists who couldn’t wait to leave the airport, they hypothesized it might make more sense to reach tourists through hotels. After all, there are millions of tourists but much fewer hotels.
If you haven’t caught your target audience’s attention, don’t give up on your mission as you could be reaching them in the wrong way. Keep your eye on the target to find out when and where is the best time to catch them!
That sure sounds “Handy”!
Even as Tink Labs evolved from a b2c to b2b business model, it never lost sight of its original goal, helping travelers. However, the change meant they needed to create value not only for tourists, but also for the hotels.
Initially, it was a huge challenge to convince hotels to carry Handy in their rooms, given the extremely traditional nature of the industry. In the end, Tink Labs successfully demonstrated that using Handy would help to increase usage and overall sales of amenities such as pools and spas. Handy also allowed the hotels to gather data and increase customer satisfaction.
Likewise, similar startups switching from b2c to b2b should think hard about how to provide the most value for both your paying clients and also your clients’ customers/clients. Then, you’ll have a solid product or service that’s just asking to be sold!
Milk that Value Cow
To Tink Labs, there were the obvious players that would benefit from Handy: hotels and their guests. However, a little creativity helped them share even more value to additional players who could benefit from Handy’s unique positioning.
For one, their platform allows advertisers to better target tourists over more traditional offline methods (e.g. print materials). Also, tourist data from Handy could benefit local governments and other hospitality businesses in the future.
Even now, Tink Labs is constantly thinking about where and how it can maximize value. For example, they’ve recently made it even easier for hotels and guests by collaborating with their manufacturer, Foxconn, to make Handy double as a room key card.
Likewise, your startup should always think about how to benefit current or possible future stakeholders. The more players that benefit, the more valuable and powerful your company becomes!
Now, Go Find Your Way
If you’re a struggling startup still confident of the value you provide, you might just need to reassess the mode in which you deliver this value. Additionally, startups can constantly examine how to increase value for their client, their clients’ clients, or even outside third parties.
The key is to be creative, flexible, and open to all possibilities in order to fully maximize the potential of your product or service!
We’d like to thank the Tink Labs team for recently hosting the #TaiwanRocks delegation while making our rounds throughout Hong Kong!
TSS 2017 年度 #TaiwanRocks 新創商務團在七月來到香港參加亞洲科技盛會 RISE，我們在緊湊的行程中拜訪了當地的新創公司 Tink Labs，跟他們聊聊旗下正夯的產品 Handy如何改變整個飯店產業。
在通往成功的道路上，許多新創團隊面臨找不到自身價值的困境，常常在想，團隊的產品／服務究竟能帶給這世界什麼樣正面影響或改變？對 Tink Labs 而言，「思考方式的改變」與「具創意的商業模式」是讓 Handy這支專為旅人設計的手機得以成功並觸及到世界各個角落的兩大關鍵。以下是我們從 Tink Labs 的商業演進中擷取的一些重點心得：
大多數新創團隊在接觸市場後，遲早會來到策略轉向的十字路口。這點在新創圈已經是個常識了。然而，策略轉向並不全然代表要砍掉重練、從零開始，反倒可以著墨如何更有創意地觸及到你的目標群眾，或是像 Tink Labs，直接轉換到一個完全不同的商業模式。
Tink Labs 最初將他們的旗艦產品 Handy 定位為一支讓旅人在國外能輕鬆打電話及漫遊上網的出租型手機，並在機場開店提供此租用服務。不出幾個月，Tink Labs 就因慘澹的經營結果，被迫重新評估他們的商業模式。
與其支付昂貴的機場店租來鎖定一群疲憊不堪、只想趕快逃離機場的國際旅客成為他們的目標客群，Tink Labs 認為，或許透過飯店來觸及旅客才是一個更明智的作法。畢竟，旅客人數有幾百多萬，而飯店的數目明顯少了許多。
儘管 Tink Labs 的商業模式從 b2c 進化到 b2b，他們從未忘記初衷—幫助旅人。然而，商業模式的改變也代表他們不只要為旅人創造價值，更要為飯店創造價值。
由於飯店產業較為傳統保守的本質，Tink Labs 一開始在說服飯店業者引進 Handy 服務時，就面臨巨大挑戰。最後，他們成功向飯店展示使用 Handy 的成效—提升游泳池、溫泉等設施的顧客使用率及整體消費量。此外，Handy 也能幫助飯店收集數據資料，用以提升消費者滿意度。
同理，跟 Tink Labs 一樣將商業模式從 b2c 轉換到 b2b 的新創，必須絞盡腦汁思考如何同時為「付錢的客戶」以及「客戶的顧客／客戶」創造價值。如此，你將擁有一個強而有力的產品服務等著上市。
對 Tink Labs 來說，飯店業者及其入住房客是兩個明顯因為 Handy 而受益的群體。然而，運用一點巧思，能幫助他們將更多價值傳遞給更多可因Handy 特殊市場定位而受惠的利害關係人。
即使是現在，Tink Labs 依然持續思考將價值最大化的可能性。像是最近他們與硬體製造商富士康合作，將 Handy 提升一個檔次，讓它不只是手機，也能當房卡使用。產品升級讓飯店業者及房客都便利許多。
特別感謝 Tink Labs 團隊在我們馬不停蹄的 #TaiwanRocksHK 2017 新創商務團行程中給予熱情的款待 ！