TravelJournal is an Israel-based travel writer publishing platform, first featured on Tnooz in May 2010 [TLabs Showcase - TravelJournal].
So what happened in the intervening 12 months?
Are you making money yet?
Making money was not our primary objective on the first year of operation.
We do make some advertising income, and recently launched a revenue-sharing program for professional travel writers, but we try to keep our advertising space non-intrusive and to a minimum as our main focus is attracting new users and expanding our community.
What has been the biggest problem - building the product/service or marketing it to consumers/travel industry?
Building the product wasn’t easy. We’ve set the bar high and we believe that the results of our hard work can be seen.
Marketing was never our strong point but we’re learning as we go, and we’re also getting some help.
It was clear to us from day one that the travel arena is crowded and very competitive, so we came prepared for a long ride.
Biggest assumption in the business plan that was wrong?
We didn’t realize how hard it’d be to convince users to write about their travel adventures. Most travellers today are settled with brief updates and photo sharing on Facebook and Twitter.
Only a small portion would spend the time to create a more detailed travel journal. One of our ongoing challenges is to make it as easy as possible to document your trip in the hope to overcome that.
Is your current customer base as predicted?
Well, you can always use some more, but we’re pretty much satisfied with the numbers. While the user count is indeed important, our main matrix is the number of quality travel journals.
Did you achieve your 12 month goals? If not, why not?
Yes, we pretty much did, as we didn’t set our initial expectations up in the sky.
Has the problem you were trying to solve changed?
No, we still strive to create the most advanced, yet friendly, travel-writing platform out there.
Which startup that has launched in the past 12 months did you think “Ah, wish we had done that!”?
We usually don’t do that. We’re good (and still very much excited) where we are.
If you could go back in time and tell yourself one thing, what would it be?
Never look back ;-)
NB: Tnooz launched TLab Showcase in March 2010, a dedicated channel to give startups in the travel, tourism and hospitality sector an opportunity to explain their vision, company background and strategy to a wider audience.
As well as publishing an elevator pitch-type questionnaire for each business, Tnooz committed to following up with each startup after 12 months or so to see how well (or not) each performed.
NB2: TLabs Showcase is part of the wider TLabs project from Tnooz.