Tue08192014

Business & Real Estate

Froomz aims to bring truth in advertising to online venue booking


Photo By: courtesy of froomz
Photo Courtesy Of Froomz

Los Altos Hills native Collette Simko-Knauss, left, and Yan Heim recently teamed up to create Froomz, an online venue-booking website.

Los Altos Hills native Collette Simko-Knauss runs Events by Collette, an event planning business, with her new husband and co-founder Brian Knauss. Simko-Knauss can answer any question about organizing a party.

But where to hold the party? That’s where Froomz comes in.

Simko-Knauss has joined forces with Yan Heim, CEO and co-founder of Froomz, to promote the new online venue search and reservation site offering places that range from a one-person office to a ballroom that can seat several hundred guests.

“You can book a venue as easily as booking a (restaurant) reservation or hotel room,” said Heim, who claims that more than 400 venues across the Bay Area are available through Froomz. “Instead of a table reservation, you can make a dining room reservation.”

The company is officially operational after a year of beta testing.

Venues that sign with Froomz receive marketing and promotional support through the company free of charge, until they generate business. Froomz charges a 6 percent fee for the booking.

Rooms come in all shapes and sizes, and visitors can search venues based on their budgets. Often, the venues themselves don’t know what to charge, so Froomz offers advice on the pricing as well, Heim said.

“You can see pictures” of what’s being reserved, Heim said.

Froomz boasts several local clients, including the Los Altos History Museum.

Part of the inspiration for the company came from Heim’s observation that much building space remains vacant for long periods of time. Heim, who ballroom dances on the side, observed that the building where she practiced was underused. That space, she reasoned, could be generating revenue.

Simko-Knauss, who organized the company’s launch party earlier this year, encouraged several of her clients to participate in the new startup.

One major factor that may set Froomz apart from other similar sites, Simko-Knauss said, is trust.

“Everyone on the website has agreed to be on it,” she said.

In some cases, sites lift information from other sources, never seeking permission or verification of that data. As a result, businesses can be taken by surprise when customers call, and the information provided is outdated – or just plain wrong.

“We have a collaborative consumption economy,” Heim said. “In order for it to work, you need to have trust. At the end of the day, does the client trust Froomz?”

Froomz employees do the work necessary to make sure venues are onboard and information is current.

“The whole team is amazing,” Simko-Knauss offered.

“We want to be the dominant player in event space,” Heim said.

For more information, visit www.froomz.com.

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