Trekeffect is a new travel startup tackling a classic area of travel startup-ery: travel planning.
The idea is to deliver a more cohesive planning experience that can be shared with friends and groups, while also providing a more intuitive interface for destination exploration, trip inspiration and actual trip planning.
Read on for a video showcasing the concept and the Tnooz questionnaire.
Tell us how you founded the company, why and what made you decide to jump in and create the business.
My girlfriend and I where looking around the Internet to plan our first trip together. That’s when I realized how fragmented and disorganized the travel industry still is amidst the availability of information online.
Planning a trip means spending so much time and effort looking for places to go, sights to see, food to try and everything else that you’d wish to do during your trip. Because there’s so much information, people tend to get lost from one website to the next trying to build a travel itinerary.
This gets even harder when planning a trip with others where you need to keep sharing details of changes and suggestions. That’s when I knew I needed to create an application that would make it easy to plan a trip on your own or with friends. With Trekeffect, you get information on cities, destinations, tourist spots, restaurants, bars and basically everything else you need including finding and booking hotels in one spot while creating your itinerary collaboratively at the same time.
What are your funding arrangements?
The project is currently being self funded though we are keeping our eyes out for follow on funding.
What is your estimation of market size?
Travel is one of the largest industries online and travel planning is something that every traveller needs. We are however targeting a smaller niche specifically younger travelers between the ages of 20 - 35. Past research has shown that there are over 5 million Americans and 7 million people from other nationalities planning trips every year online.
Please describe your competition.
We understand that there are many apps out there that might be mistaken as the same as Trekeffect. However, these apps often solve only one aspect of travel. There are apps that show you destinations. There are apps that show you hotels and flights. There are apps that let you create an itinerary by letting you import information on your own. There are also apps that would let you plan different aspects of travel, but are fee based businesses. Trekeffect lets travelers plan everything in one app for free.
What is your revenue model and strategy for profitability?
Revenue is made through our booking engines. We currently offer the ability for people to book hotels and will be expanding the offerings to booking flights, car rentals etc.
What problem does the business solve?
Trekeffect makes travel planning easy and hassle free.
Sociability - Not many travel apps consider the fact that travel planning has a social aspect, which is critical when you consider how most people plan their trips. If you’re planning a trip using our tool, you can share details of the trip with your friends and in one place you can see everything including all the changes made to your plans. You no longer need to go back and forth with email or text messages hoping that everyone else keeps up with the details.
Organization - Trekeffect provides information on destinations through a list of venues divided by categories. You can check out the attractions, bars, restaurants, shops and hotels in one particular city so that you can easily add places of interest to your itinerary by dragging and dropping them into your timeline. The average person visits 22 websites to find details about the destination they are visiting. We lets you research everything in one place by curating travel information. Everything is organized in a way that’s simplified.
Ease of Use - Travel planning is a complicated process and we knew we could change that. We’ve made Trekeffect so easy to use, helping people save time and discover more.
How did the initial idea evolve and were there changes/any pivots along the way in the early stages?
The idea has evolved predominantly on the data organization front. We initially were doing manual data entry but soon realized the issue with scaling the content. Since then we have integrated numerous methods of abstracting data and organizing the content in an easy to understand way. We have also done several design iterations to continuously simplify the process of planning a trip.
Why should people or companies use the business?
There are so many places in this world to discover and time is better spent exploring those places in real life rather than spending hundreds of hours online just to organize a trip. With what Trekeffect is offering to travelers, there’s really no reason not to use it.
What is the strategy for raising awareness and the customer/user acquisition (apart from PR)?
We’re reaching out to travel bloggers so that they may share the places they’ve seen and things they’ve tried out in different countries.
We are also spending a lot of effort to make sure we optimize our website for search engines and deliver the highest quality content for organic growth.
Where do you see the company in three years time and what specific challenges do you anticipate having to overcome?
In three years time, we expect Trekeffect to have fully taken off as an established trip planning app that is popularly used because of its convenience.
The biggest challenge is gathering all the data with the goal of providing travel information that is really comprehensive instead of just mentioning popular spots. We are trying to get travel bloggers to share new and off-the-beaten-path destinations they have discovered so that others can experience that as well.
What is wrong with the travel, tourism and hospitality industry that it requires a startup like yours to help it out?
There is lack of online coordination, which you will notice if you take a really hard look at the industry. We are moving into an age where everything revolves around the Internet. Travel businesses have established their online presence without realizing that there are a lot of other aspects to consider. With Trekeffect, all aspects of travel is unified.
What other technology company (in or outside of travel) would you consider yourselves most closely aligned to in terms of culture and style... and why?
In some ways I think we are like Hipmunk. They have invented a unique interface around flight information that is uncomparable to any other travel site we’ve seen. We place a lot of emphasis on design with Trekeffect. If the experience is optimized, people use the site more frequently and want to return to explore new destinations.
Which company would be the best fit to buy your startup, and why?
A company like TripAdvisor would be a perfect fit. We would be able to tie in their data and deliver travel content even more seamlessly. It would also provide them another way to present their content and attract a younger audience.
Describe your startup in three words?
Simplified Travel Planning
Trekeffect is entering a segment of travel that hasn't seen too many successes - and those successes that do remain have been subsumed by larger companies, such as Mapquest's acquisition of travel journal startup Everlater. For Mapquest, this purchase fit in with the overall direction of platform, as it was moving from simply a mapping company to a full-fledged travel product company.
The company will need to consider its positioning carefully and ensure that it is over-delivering to a core set of users that can form the backbone of a community. Community is one of the strongest points of any travel planning/journaling-style startup, and the startup will be best positioned by picking a specific target group or two.
The startup founders must also realize the legacy reasons being the "lack of online coordination." There are plenty of silos in travel, and, as anyone in the industry for longer than a few years is aware, plenty of startups have crashed and burned trying to break those silos down. The smartest way to circumvent legacy is to become the glue that brings these things together - disruption through facilitation, if you will.
A deep understanding of how the online travel ecosystem functions - and what specific problems this sort of planning service could offer suppliers in a bid to get some booking revenue - is an essential component of success. Other startups such as MyGola, are also considering this, so the team must be focused at delivering on real problems.
On the product side, the team is seven strong and committed to improving upon existing experiences - and at first glance, the product is a great step in that direction.