V3 co-founders Shane Crockett and Stephen Wells are long time friends who both have a passion for surfing and travel.
In the early 1990s, both held senior positions in different, but related, industries. Shane was the highly regarded CEO of the West Australian Tourism Commission, and Stephen, the MD of his own successful marketing business, 303. They’d collaborated before, could they do it again?
In the mid-nineties the Internet was just taking off. The duo spent most Saturday mornings driving to their secret surf break north of Perth. It was during these trips they got talking about the potential of the Internet to enable them to surf the ten best waves around the world. The idea was there, but how to make it possible when it was difficult to find somewhere to stay, pay and book online?
They knew searching for those small, out of the way, and interesting places often meant endless hours of research, followed by a plethora of telephone calls and emails, often resulting in uncertainty of the final booking outcome. They concluded that customers needed direct, real time access to live inventory that could be booked there and then.
The pair identified the most successful online models of aggregators, such as Amazon and e-Bay, businesses in their formative stages, creating marketing collaborations by working together and using the Internet to organise what were extremely fragmented, but very large markets. They realized if they applied this thinking to the travel industry it could provide the catalyst for real change in small to medium (SME) tourism businesses, by organising and e-commerce enabling their inventory, so it would become easily accessible, live and bookable online.
Shane and Stephen’s ultimate goal was to provide SME’s with the same opportunity to market their products using the Internet as the big hotel and resort chains. They were pretty sure that giving small to medium businesses access to marketing on the internet would also provide an invaluable tool for customers searching for travel products on line – an area that was sure to grow.
They are committed to five key business principles:
These insights and principles spawned the concept of the Open Booking Exchange.
The V3 name originates from Caesar’s well known quote ‘veni vidi vici’, or ‘I came, I saw, I conquered’. The ‘conquering’ part... well we’ve discovered that takes the time!