This summer has seen one of the most significant announcements in the co-op sector in Scotland for some time. Long established online restaurant deals and reservation provider, 5pm, have signalled their intentions to completely overhaul their operating model and transition to a co-operative, creating what is thought to be the first platform of its type in the world. Owned by hospitality businesses, this new co-op known as Kooble has unveiled its ground-breaking platform, poised to shake up the online booking market.
With their journey well underway and formal launch planned for the the new year, we caught up with 5pm founder Ronnie Sommerville to find out more.
We’ve long recognised the issues faced by businesses in the booking market, with colossal international booking conglomerates charging exorbitant commissions. Our vision was to change this, creating a sustainable and attractive hospitality industry that benefits all. I believe that a co-operative booking platform, owned by the industry itself, is the solution the tourism and hospitality sector has been waiting for.
Kooble is a non-profit co-operative, co-owned by leading operators within Scotland’s hospitality industry with no external shareholders. It will level the playing field by directing profits back to hospitality businesses through a dividend. This unique model empowers businesses to reinvest a greater proportion of their profits, fostering growth, sustainability and fairness within the industry. This operating model aims to halve the commissions typically paid by businesses to Online Travel Agencies (OTAs), charging businesses around 15% and remitting up to a remarkable 7.5% back to the merchants. In comparison, many OTAs retain the entire commission.
The launch has been met with huge enthusiasm and more than 150 hospitality operators in Scotland have already pledged their support, demonstrating the widespread confidence in what many in the industry have described as a ‘game-changing platform’.
We’re in a unique position as this new co-op can leverage 5pm’s established experience and expertise in the Scottish market, offering a seamless and reliable service for users as a result of new technology, personalised service and long-standing relationships that currently exist within Scotland’s tourism and hospitality industry.
Our vision is to spearhead a Scotland-wide movement that fosters a sustainable and thriving hospitality industry, benefiting all stakeholders. With our proven platform, expert team, and over two decades of experience, we have the necessary tools to turn this vision into a resounding success that empowers everyone involved.
It’s also important to highlight that an organisation like Kooble aligns with the Scottish Government’s Community Wealth Building Programme. It exemplifies the principles of shared ownership, progressive procurement, and localised financial empowerment.”
Looking to the future, we aim to expand the concept globally. We believe that a successful Kooble in Scotland will be the steppingstone to offering a multilingual and white label platform and playbook to other groups of hospitality businesses worldwide. Kooble shines a light on the potential for a much brighter future for our industry.”
To find out more about Kooble and how to join visit: www.koobleit.com.
Kooble were supported by Co-operative Development Scotland early in the process. We were able to provide them expert support to carry out feasibility, explore their options and set up the co-op.
Find out more about setting up a co-op contact our team: