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Booking his entrepreneurial journey

As a kid, North­eastern Uni­ver­sity alumnus Casey Berten­thal made a few extra bucks by washing cars and walking dogs.

But his entre­pre­neurial spirit has truly blos­somed since he joined a small startup a couple of months ago.

Berten­thal, SSH’10, is one of three full time employees of Group­Bookers, an Oak­land, Calif., based hotel booking web appli­ca­tion that spe­cial­izes in helping novice meeting plan­ners, such as admin­is­tra­tors or human resources man­agers, book event space or 10 or more hotel rooms.

The com­mis­sion– based busi­ness launched its ser­vices in San Fran­cisco and Los Angeles in late October and will be avail­able to clients in Boston, Chicago, New York and Wash­ington, D.C. by early next year.

The com­pany, Berten­thal says, has a dis­tinct advan­tage over com­peti­tors because of the site’s sim­plicity and ease of use for novice planners.

He describes the appli­ca­tion as a hybrid ver­sion of Expedia and Tri­pAd­visor for large groups. As he puts it, “There are no other sites out there that allow the user to enter their group needs and then narrow his or her search down to the 3 or 4 hotels that would best work for the group and then receive rate pro­posals from each within 24 hours.”

The entre­pre­neur man­ages Group­Bookers’ social media strategy, including its Face­book, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. Berten­thal also plays an active role in building prospec­tive part­ner­ships with hotels man­agers and meeting planners.

He rel­ishes the day-​​to-​​day duties of shaping the low-​​risk, high-​​reward ven­ture. “There is always some­thing new and exciting hap­pening,” he says. “It is a great oppor­tu­nity to be part of some­thing from its incep­tion and grow along with the company.”

Berten­thal says his co-​​op in a mar­keting role with Joie de Vivre Hos­pi­tality, a hotel and restau­rant com­pany based in San Fran­cisco, has pre­pared him to help turn Group­Bookers into a wide­spread success.

“It gave me a knowl­edge base of the hos­pi­tality industry, from reser­va­tions to big group sales,” he explains. “I got a really good idea of how the industry works.”

– by Jason Kornwitz

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