If locals can rent out their lodging, why can't they rent out their own time as tour guides, too?
Gibby Road is an online community launching officially in May (currently in beta) that enables locals to charge fees to visitors to join them in "insider adventures," such as attending clubs, parties, or picnics, in glamorous locales. In beta testing this month, it is starting with New York City, Los Angeles, and the Hamptons.
Here's its elevator pitch:
A Q&A with the founders:
What problem does your business solve?
Gibby Road is for travelers who want to fully immerse themselves in the local culture of the destinations they visit and experience those cities not just with the advice of a local, but with a local.
They have an instinctive desire to go "off-guidebook" to find lesser-known spots and experience local hangouts but have no way to discover them or simply no one to enjoy them with.
With Gibby Road, gone are the days of dragging out your copy of Lonely Planet or trawling TripAdvisor for out of date and unfiltered recommendations; rather, travelers are invited to "come with me!" by vetted, in-the-know locals.
Names of founders, their management roles, and number of full-time paid staff?
Gibby Road is a lean startup with a core team of focused founders, strategic advisors and an exceptional communications partner. Founders of Gibby Road are: Sarah Winters, communications and social media; Shawn Ward, operations, website development and digital marketing; Shane Ward, partnerships/collaborations and philanthropy; Lenworth Gordon, Gibby training and customer service; Rachel Harrison, marketing and PR.
Gibby Road is self-funded.
Gibby Road revenue is derived from a percentage of sales of each experience (12% per transaction).
Why do you think the pain point you’re solving is painful enough that customers are willing to pay for your solution?
Travelers tastes have changed from the days when it was desirable to stay in chain hotels where waking up in Rio looked the same as waking up in Reno. Travel today is about experiencing your destination in a special way and coming home with incredible stories, rather than hitting the same touristy sites as everyone else.
We've seen this trend gain power and popularity in the accommodation sector and now Gibby Road applies this immersive local offering and micro-entrepreneurship opportunity to locals and travelers in the realm of experiences.
Gibby Road has been met with an incredibly positive response during the beta launch, with over 100 member sign-ups even before the launch was officially announced.
Our advisors include Scott Raskin, CEO of innovation management software company Mindjet/Spigit; Hill Harper, currently starring in the TV series Limitless on CBS; and Jim Welch, co-owner/operator of Amaze Travel.
In Gibby Road parlance, the site connects locals (Gibbies) with curious experience seekers (Roadies). Such matchmaking has been tried by other platforms. Vayable has found a viable model, after pivoting from generic tour guide marketplace to niche experience marketplace.
Gibby Road has found a pain point to solve. It can be difficult for out-of-town visitors to access experiences with cool kids at events, parties, boutique shops, pop-up venues, and other scenes in upmarket/glamorous locales like the Hamptons without on-the-ground knowledge or connections.
That said, the startup needs a secret sauce or upscale focus to stand out from competitors. Otherwise it risks going head-to-head with rival efforts, like Airbnb's nascent Experience hosts product and Icelandair's Stopover Buddy service.
Assuming Gibby Road executes on the technical and marketing sides well enough, a central question remains: Will there be a match in supply and demand? Are there enough scenesters willing to rent out their time by the hour (and at a price that well-off travelers are willing to pay)?