Riga, Latvia-based Reach.ly is today launching its first product, coinciding with the announcement that it has raised an initial round of seed funding to jump-start the business.
The service that the fledgling company is debuting today is a Web-based platform that provides hotels with a curated Twitter stream and direct conversation tool so they can touch base with potential guests in real time.
Here’s how it works: Reach.ly mines the public Twitter firehose and uses semantic algorithms to weed out messages from users who announce travel to particular cities in the near future. Hotels can then analyze the tweets and reach out directly to these potential guests.
I’m confident some people will inevitably complain that Reach.ly in a way facilitates unsolicited tweeting – some might even call it spamming – but I think some might actually benefit from engaging in direct conversations with hotels, although I think hotel marketers might have to go the extra mile and offer a discount or something to appease users.
Reach.ly says hotels are just the first step, and plans future applications of its technology for a range of travel-related searches, including car rentals and airline tickets, as well as other vertical markets.
The startup has raised an undisclosed amount in seed funding from angel investor Andris Berzins, Stanford MBA and former executive at London-based Livebookings and Silicon Valley company AeroScout.