C. Rosenberg, Book’n’Bloom: “SME’s Should Be in Social Networks, but Why Not Make Direct Revenue from Them, Too?”
Book’n’Bloom is an online booking tool for small businesses who want to benefit from social media, allowing them to take appointments through their social media pages. Apart from the appointments platform, the company will be providing its clients in the future with a so-called “Social Media Toolbox“, helping them post fresh content for followers engagement, rather than having themselves to spend time and find it first.
Book’n’Bloom is integrated in the business’ Facebook page as a tab and lets the administrator see upcoming bookings, accept last minute bookings, setup reminders, add their staff, working hours and provided services, modify a rewarding system etc.
On the other hand, when the client visits the business’ Facebook page and clicks the tab with Book’n’Bloom application can start booking their appointments online. They are given access to the online calendar of the business and are able to choose their preferred timeslot. A Facebook reminder will be received on the scheduled day for reducing the possibility of “not showing up”.
Soon, an application for any kind of smartphone will be available so customers can book their next appointment and the business owners can manage them on their mobile devices.
The startup is based in Thessaloniki, Greece, and was founded two years ago from CEO Claus Rosenberg Gotthard, an experienced entrepreneur, and COO Charalambos Papadopoulos. The idea came up when they were both working for a renewables company in Cyprus.
EMEAstartups contacted Claus Rosenberg, who explains how Book’n’Bloom works and how it can help SME’s grow their businesses through the power of social media. According to C. Rosenberg, Book’n’Bloom is already expanding its operations with a new office in Madrid, Spain, in order to cover both Europe and Latin America!
EMEAstartups: Claus, first of all tell us what is the Book’n’Bloom service and what are its features?
Claus Rosenberg Gotthard: Book’n’Bloom is an online tool for small but great businesses who want to use Social Media to help them grow their business. It allows them to exchange page views and ‘likes’ in Facebook into real new consumers and it makes it easy for them to skip the traditional way of booking and start taking appointments online.
EMEAstartups: Practically, how does Book’n’Bloom service work?
Claus Rosenberg Gotthard: The base is a tool that is installed into the small business Facebook page after a fast sign up process starting in www.booknbloom.com. After installation, the client’s Facebook page becomes an appointment center, where clients can see a new “Book Now” button and where the business can add all the appointments from his non-Facebook clients. In the administration panel, the business has access to see his upcoming bookings, his reminders and the option to create client notes and see the client’s activity.
At the same time, the client can see his dashboard where he will find his favorite shops where he already booked an appointment or that he ‘liked’ on Facebook. An application for any kind of smartphone will be available soon so customers can book their next appointment and the business owners can manage them on their Mobile devices.
EMEAstartups: Are you marketing the service worldwide or into specific countries?
Claus Rosenberg Gotthard: This is a global service but, as we are still small, we have already launched our product in UK and Greece and we are preparing the launch in Spain and soon in USA. We are looking for moving this opportunity to all Europe and Latin America during 2014.
EMEAstartups: Can you provide us with some numbers? How many businesses have started using Book’n’Bloom, where are they coming from and how much are their bookings or their revenues increasing by using your service? How fast are yourself, Book’n’Bloom, growing as a business?
Claus Rosenberg Gotthard: We are still in an early phase, where we have selected a couple of hundred users to help us develop the platform. It’s early to see the real revenue, but for the first insights and users opinions and we are really excited about the number that will come in the following months.
For us, we are in a critical point, where we are moving from a start up to a growing business, opening offices in other countries and hiring the right talent for us.
EMEAstartups: What is the landscape on boosting businesses online bookings services? How is Book’n’Bloom different or what extra advantages does it offer to partnering businesses over the competition?
Claus Rosenberg Gotthard: We hear every day that small business must be in social networks, invest time and money there, create engagement… but, what about making direct revenue from Social Networks? More likes and friends are not directly linked to more clients unless you use a tool like Book’n’Bloom. We are different because we don’t want to be just a platform, we want our clients to grow and we will provide them tools, training and help to grow, not just for managing bookings.
(below are some screenshots of how the administrator’s platform looks, to view them in full size click on each picture)
EMEAstartups: You and your co-founder Babis you have an interesting story on how you know each other and how you started up this company. Want to share it with us?
Claus Rosenberg Gotthard: Yes, sure and I do believe we have an interesting story. I am what you call a serial-entrepreneur and have done startups for the past 20 years. Back 2009 I founded a Renewable energy EPC (engineering, procurement & construction) company in Cyprus where Babis was hired as an intern. After a couple of weeks we one day sat down and he told me about how during this time in University he wanted to set the bar as high as possible for himself and his fellow students. This led them to form the Pandora Robotic team where they took part in 2008 and won in Europe and later in 2009 became no. 8 in the world in China. (last year in Eindhoven the team became no. 2 in the world). This story showed me two things – one was knowledge in software and hardware development and second – determination and the ability to execute and deliver. Both very important virtues as an entrepreneur and I thought we could develop something together and this led us to start ‘brainstorming’ on ideas in the weekends and the idea of Book’n’Bloom was born.
(Below are some screenshots of the client’s interface, to view them in full size click on each picture)
EMEAstartups: What are your plans for 2014? Are you going to concentrate more on the marketing/sales part of the company (since the service looks pretty much at a very good development point – tech-wise)?
Claus Rosenberg Gotthard: Book’n’Bloom has completed the just-development phase and now we enter into the marketing-driven phase of the company. We will keep our strong development team, since we need to keep improving and launching new functionalities, but we must focus on our clients, make them grow and, of course, make money with that. For that reason, we have hired a new CMO, Daniel Peña who have just joined and is preparing the new Madrid office and will lead all the marketing efforts, and there are a lot of things to do!
(images credit: Book’n’Bloom, 2014)