We discuss today with Jeremie Murat. He co-founded COZYCOZY in 2019.
Jeremie, can you start off by telling us about COZYCOZY and the products and services it offers?
Cozycozy is a metasearch engine with the world’s largest selection of accommodations. It allows travelers to conveniently compare prices from giants like Booking.com, Airbnb, Hotels.com, VRBO, Expedia, or Hostelworld, or from lesser-known merchants like Sonder, Novasol, as well as destination specialists like Gîtes de France, Agriturismo, Adriatic, without having to browse through all these platforms. With one click, users can see and compare millions of offers all over the world and choose an ideal place with the best price.
Cozycozy is the only platform that gives full power to travelers to find the best accommodation wherever they go. Whether you are looking for a hotel, an apartment, mountain cabins, or you fancy sleeping in a treehouse or a bubble tent, we will find the ideal place for you, and always at the best price. Launched in 2019, Cozycozy is now operating in 39 countries around the world, listing more than 20 million accommodation offers.
How does the company work with hotels and Airbnb accommodation to provide customers with the ideal vacation?
I believe that accommodation type does not matter to travelers now like it used to be. Vacation rentals are becoming more and more professional. Many vacation rentals now often reach the same quality service as hotels. Travelers now mainly base their decision on the location, the pictures, reviews, and amenities. So, to provide our customers with the ideal vacation, our goal is to present the accommodation that fits the user’s trip needs above all. We take into consideration the traveler category (family, couple, or business trip), the type of destination (city trip, countryside, ski or seashore destinations…), the dates, etc. Our algorithm takes into account dozens of criteria to present to our users the accommodations that fit best to their needs.
In 2019, COZYCOZY received €4 million in funds to launch the service. What were the challenges of landing funding to launch the company fully?
It’s never easy to raise money. You need to prove that your concept will work and that you have the team to make it happen. I was lucky to have the same team that I worked with on our previous successful project. Moreover, B2C projects are always challenging for investors because it generally needs a lot of money to become a leader in the field. But we have our secret recipe to leverage this and managed to convince investors to follow us.
In 2020, the COVID-19 halted travel around the world. How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected COZYCOZY?
Like all the other travel and hospitality companies, Cozycozy has been impacted a great deal by the pandemic. In 2019, Cozycozy was only operating on the French market. We did our first TV campaign in France in January 2020, everything was ramping up as we planned. But in March 2020, the first lockdown was announced. Within minutes, our KPI’s went flat. This was something I had never seen in 20 years of my career until that day. And there was nothing we could do about it. However, Covid has forced us to review our roadmap. It helped us shift attention to domestic travel, and provides tools for our users to find accommodation close to where they live. During the 2020 summer when travel restrictions were lifted, Cozycozy promoted domestic tourism with a big success. It also forced us to accelerate our international deployment. In 8 months, we launched in 39 markets! Despite the major impact of the pandemic, the company gained momentum and kept growing. Today we are much bigger we were than before the pandemic.
You have worked with other travel websites previously. What led you to COZYCOZY and what makes it different compared to the companies you previously worked for?
I am a travel industry veteran. I worked almost only for travel meta-search engines and I found a different challenge in each of them. In 2006, when I started working for Liligo, flight ticket search was a real challenge and yet we managed to create a leader in the industry.
In 2017, Airbnb started to change the way people were searching for accommodations. It became as easy to book an apartment as a hotel. However, there was no service that allows users to compare all types of accommodation. We believed that it is the right of every traveler to see unbiased listings to book an ideal accommodation wherever they go. So we took the opportunity to build a search engine that empowers all travelers with full access to relevant and unbiased information about all existing online accommodation solutions.
The main difference between each startup was that I acquired more and more experience, which is a great advantage to execute faster and not repeat the mistake you have made before.
How many accommodation properties does COZYCOZY currently work with?
We currently have more than 20 million accommodations listed and with each new partner, this number keeps increasing.
What countries and marketplaces do COZYCOZY currently focus on?
We are currently operating in 39 countries. Our goal is to continue expanding and become the world’s leader in the accommodation search world. We have a strong presence in France and our fastest-growing market is the US.
If you could go back in time before the COVID-19 pandemic, what business advice would you give yourself?
Interesting question. I often say, Damn! wasn’t it the worst possible timing to launch a travel startup? But the good news is that people will always travel, just a bit differently. So I don’t regret starting a travel startup right before a global pandemic. While the pandemic definitely made our life complicated, it also forced us to be really resilient.
How is COZYCOZY changing travel for people around the globe?
Cozycozy is changing travel for people around the globe by providing them the “seen it all” feeling. We are the only platform to bring ALL accommodation types to one place; hotel rooms, vacation rentals, cabins, chalets, houseboats, resorts, beach houses, and even unique stays like treehouses or bubble tents.
By bringing in one place, all a person needs to see before booking accommodation helps avoid website hopping and saves tons of time and money. We make sure our users have seen it all once they are on Cozycozy, hence we provide them a worry-free booking experience. Moreover, with our features like sorting, filtering, we empower our users with all the information so they can feel secure in their booking decision.
Jeremie, how is a day in your life?
Challenging 🙂 I start by cooking my meal for the day before my twin girls wake up. Then I get them dressed, have breakfast together, and drop them at school. Then it’s work time. I start with the emails & prioritization for the day. After that, I jump from topic to topic between business, marketing, and technical topics. In the evening, it’s kids’ time again. Then I work from home for a few more hours. I like to work at night on dense topics.
What is something most people don’t know about you?
Not a lot of people know that I love gardening. Taking care of plants or gardening is one of my favorite hobbies that really helps me relax. I try to take out time for gardening even if it’s a few minutes in a busy week.
What makes you smile?
When I arrive home, I hear “Daddyyyyy !” and I see two little girls running into my arms. That makes my day!
What scares you?
I am really wondering how life on earth will be in 50 years, for our children. It’s frightening that every year humans consume more than the Earth can produce.
If you had the power to change just one thing in the world, what would it be?
I would provide ethical & sustainable food at a price that everybody could afford. Quality food is key to good health, but it’s rarely the solution we promote. We are more often curing with medicine than preventing.