You are viewing a read-only archive of the Blogs.Harvard network. Learn more.

My last post has been a while – I have been pretty busy with my start-up company, searching for the most romantic hotels in Europe and around the globe and to bring them to our website. Apart from honeymoon resorts, we have been pushing hard to add romantic hotels in Europe – for a romantic getaway as much as for a honeymon closer to home to our collection. Two hotels I am especially fond of myself are  the Relais & Châteaux Hotel Hertelendy Kastély in Hungary and the Dolce Vita Hotel Preidlhof in North Italy / South Tyrol.

Hotel Hertelendy Kastély is an amazing place. I have visited the hotel myself to find out more about this castle boutique hotel in the Hungarian countryside that prouds itself of an organic garden and vast own apple orchard as well as (and can you believe this contrast) an own airfield which allows guest from all over Europe to arrive at Hertelendy Castle comfortably and in style.

Hotel Preidlhof is another charming place within the Italian Alps. The region, which is a favorite with couples from Germany has many romantic hotels to choose from, but Hotel Preidlhof is one of the most beautiful. I love the open space bathrooms of their Jasmin Rooms and the private finish sauna and rooftop Jacuzzi of their Malve suite.

I recently did some research on the origins of the honeymoon because I believe it is important to know history when you think about the future of your business or industry. Did you know that the concept of travelling for your honeymoon originated in India? Or that initially this journey was intended to visit family and friends that couldn’t make it to the wedding? Wikipedia has an interesting article, not only on the history, but on etymology of the honeymoon, too.

In the last weeks we were studying data on whether couples like to leave right from the wedding ceremony, what destinations they want to travel for their honeymoon, and for how long. But perhaps it would make sense to also think a little more about how to enable people to take their small children along on their honeymoon, or how to arrange for family members at home to be taken care of?

Let me know what you think!

This admittedly is a hard turn from writing about the beginnings of my honeymoon business to something that really frustrates me these days.

Our honeymoon bridal registry has been quite successful with German, Austrian and Swiss users, now we are pushing hard to speed up our travel sales as well. Since many wedding couples in Germany are still fond of personal service when it comes to booking a honeymoon, we are creating an exciting new online travel portal with a number of interesting partners and a lot of personal service.

Currently we are in the process of designing partner contracts. And as you might have guessed from the title of this post, I just found out about the dark side of working with lawyers.

So far we have been more than lucky to have been able to work with the immensely knowledgeable, super-friendly, always helpful and more than fair Information Technology Lawyer Stephan Hansen-Oest, who has been our legal counsel for everything Web 2.0.

Well, travel industry contracts are a thing for itself so we went with a new lawyer specialized on tourism law. A specialized lawyer in this field was hard to find in Munich and our lawyer sure is very friendly, talks a lot and likes to discuss everything in detail. But she is also charging us by the hour and with only half of the contracts barely finished, we already hit 3! times the hours she forecasted when we discussed her mandate.

And while I of course see that “this contract (like most documents I will not just buy online) is not a standard contract” it’s still by  far not a M&A transaction either. Am I so mistaken to expect a good lawyer to predict time and effort needed to set up a not so complex document more or less accurate? Can it be that the client is paying a multiple because the lawyer over-estimated her competency in the matter? (Can I say this without being sued? I won’t give names, though).

I absolutely love the sometimes curious life of a female internet entrepreneur. But working with lawyers (Stephan Hansen-Oest excluded) on simple things like setting up contracts can be a truly frustrating experience.

Some people might think it obvious that companies that have something to do with weddings (or fashion, or beauty products for that matter) attract female work force and are often founded and headed by a woman as well. But if someone would have told me two years ago that I would work for a company, yet found one which “non-technical” products and services target primarily women, I would have laughed straight out.

I have been a “tech girl” for as long as I can think of. Having entrepreneurial roots with family members in the automotive and broader transportation & mobility field I developed a kind interest in innovation and everything that had to do with developing products and working together with R&D people to explore innovation and new markets. By the end of my Business studies in a dual degree program that also included a degree in Technology Management, I was enthusiastic about digital technologies for healthcare and on the lookout for a venture idea that would change the world by enabling better quality of care while decreasing healthcare cost.

And then, by total chance, I came across a “honeymoon registry”. Unfortunately I don’t remember which one it was, but it must have been one of the larger US services.

I love to travel and I had an eye on internet-entrepreneurship for a while then, but I wanted to do something new and innovative and the product developer in me refused to do anything that would depend on advertising income. I wanted to create a good product people would value and would be willing to pay for. And there it was – a great idea, not perfectly executed, but expandable and just perfect for the travel enthusiastic German market.

So I started to do research on digital services for travelers and on niche travel portals focused around a clear travel profile. I looked into things that would go beyond user generated content and hotel reviews. And the more I saw (or did not see) the more I liked the idea of creating a new kind of travel site for the German market.

honeywish is the result of this. I envisioned a “targeted meta-travel-portal” as I call it with a wedding registry where a traveler looking to spend romantic days with his new spouse would find everything from the pampering honeymoon package of a six-star hotel on the Seychelles, to an adventurous trip though Central America with one-of-a-kind romantic highlights, to a budget holiday in a romantic small village in Italy. honeywish would hand pick hotels and tour operators, present everything with the needs of the honeymoon traveler in mind and enables the user to upload the desired trip into a personal, adaptable honeymoon registry with just a few clicks.

While the honeywish team works hard to realize this vision, not only for German honeymooners, but for romantic travel enthusiasts globally, I am pretty happy with my decision to start something on my own although life as an internet entrepreneur can be pretty strange at times.

For your amusement, I will write about the odd and curious side of the internet business and my experience as a female internet entrepreneur.

PS: I beg your pardon, but I will write some articles in German, too, so my grandmother has something to read here as well.

Hello World

January 30th, 2010

Hi all,

this is my first post and I am really excited to start blogging here about my project honeywish, an idea which emerged out of the great entrepreneurial spirit at Harvard. I look forward to your thoughts and hope you’ll leave your comments.