Planza is a web application seeking to help those who are always left planning the trip as well as provide its own take on efficient trip planning.
The self-funded startup has a team of seven, led by founders Jeroen De Smet and Koen De Smet, and is going after a market that includes anyone planning a holiday or event. It cites doodle as competition.
Planza's business model is freemium - it says current features are free and will remain so but that once the service emerges from beta, there will be an option to subscribe to a Planza Pro.
Describe what your start-up does, what problem it solves (differently to what is already out there) and for whom?
Imagine you are trying to plan a group ski vacation, a team building event or a meeting. You could make a few proposals for a date and/or location with text messages, e-mail a to-do list and discuss the details over the phone. Such a fragmented approach, however, is far from efficient and before long causes stress and a loss of time. Planza makes this a thing of the past.
Gathering together a group of friends, club members or colleagues, setting a date, choosing a location, dividing the tasks, launching a discussion and sharing notes. You can do it all on Planza! This is not a complicated desktop application but a user-friendly online plaza where group members meet one another to design their plans together, quickly and concretely.
In the near future, users will receive real-time event-related information updates such as weather forecasts, traffic updates, things to do etc., based on the time, the location and the team profile, thanks to the suggestion engine which we will name @PlanzaWizard.
Why should people or companies use your startup?
Planza saves you time so you can focus on the fun! It takes the hassle out of planning.
Other than going viral and receiving mountains of positive PR, what is the strategy for raising awareness and getting customers/users?
We are trying to close deals with certain travel providers (Thomas Cook, for example).
How did your initial idea evolve? Were there changes/any pivots along the way? What other options have you considered for the business if the original vision fails?
Planza is an idea that developed from a dual frustration: it always seems to be the same people who bear the burden for the entire organization of professional and/or private events, and furthermore there are no available tools for efficiently planning these events. Should Planza fail, we will make customized Planza-like dedicated web applications for (travel) companies, …
Where do you see yourselves in 3 years time, what specific challenges do you hope to have overcome?
Planza hopes to become the leading web application for (travel) planning, the ‘Evernote’ for the (travel) planning industry.
What is wrong with the travel, tourism and hospitality industry that requires another startup to help it out?
There’s nothing wrong with those industries, but there are still no tools to plan a holidays efficiently online.
Groupize, Dcovery, Flights with Friends, TripCommon, MakeItSocial - these are just a few of the names that spring to mind when someone mentions planning a trip with friends so there are a few players already seeking to address this frustration.
There are also the social networks such as Facebook to contend with and who knows what direction services such as Expedia's TripCompanion and TripAdvisor's Trip Friends will take.
The idea of no one person having the burden of pulling it all together is nice but isn't that what travel agents have traditionally been there for, to take all this stuff off your hands so you don't have to waste time and effort on it.
Without knowing more about the freemium model, it's difficult to say how Planza will differentiate itself, perhaps it will provide a concierge service or a personal travel consultant.
Perhaps the B2B idea of making customised web apps for travel companies could be brought to the table sooner rather than later although Planza must surely have some tricks up its sleeve for finally devising an efficient trip planning tool.
We look forward to developments.
TLabs Showcase is part of the wider TLabs project from Tnooz.