TLabs Showcase on travel startups featuring UK-based trip Beachionary, a trip planning and community platform targeting beach lovers.
Who and what are you (including personnel and backgrounds)?
Beachionary is an online social guide to beaches from all over the world, founded by George Tychogiorgos and Giorgos Vasileiou.
Beachionary is also the work of a devoted team of business associates specialised in web development, marketing and digital media, graphic and product design.
What financial support did you have to launch the business?
The business so far has been bootstrapped by its founders.
What problem are you trying to solve?
There are a particularly high percentage of people that decide their summer destinations based upon the quality of the beaches and the facilities they can find around them.
So far, people should spend significant amount of time only to find information for some beaches from dispersed sources in the internet.
Moreover, most of this information is hosted by hotel websites, which are deliberately inaccurate to promote their beaches and attract clients. However, there are so many more beaches, others very small and others only accessible by boat, that makes it impossible to find accurate information about them.
Besides, every destination has so many little secrets that only a local could know. And that’s the goal of Beachionary; to become the local expert of every beach in the world.
Describe the business, core products and services?
Beachionary is an online guide to beaches from all over the world that can help users:
- Decide the ideal destination for their summer holidays.
- Book their holiday accommodation.
- Share their travel experiences by writing reviews, voting beach attributes and uploading photos.
More precisely, users can either explore the beaches on the map or search for a beach using its name, the region or the country it belongs to. Within the beach page, apart from the exact location of a beach, users can also find the nearest beaches and a list of nearby hotels and venues for food and entertainment.
Additionally, Beachionary is an online community, and therefore, users can make suggestions about beaches they have visited and learn about "undiscovered" summer destinations through other people’s suggestions.
Who are your key customers and users at launch?
Our main users include those travellers that consider the beach as the center of their summer holidays and seek to find information about the natural beauty, the facilities and the accommodation choices of a beach before booking their holidays.
Did you have customers validate your idea before investors?
As mentioned earlier, Beachionary has been funded so far only by its founders. Nonetheless, we had numerous discussions with colleagues and various keen travellers on the idea and we got very positive feedback.
What is the business AND revenue model, strategy for profitability?
Beachionary offers free access for all its users. The revenue model is based on advertisement and affiliation with accommodation booking websites.
At the moment, we work with Google Adsense but as our user base increases, we intend to make individual advertising deals with travel related companies.
SWOT analysis – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?
- Worldwide coverage of beaches
- Our beach correspondents are as many as our users
- All necessary beach information is gathered in a single page and presented in a very intuitive way
- Users can suggest beaches and vote for their favourite ones
- Beaches rated by users and not by travel agents to promote some areas
- Beachionary is a great brand name; Describes uniquely the idea around it as it comes from ‘Beach’ and ‘Dictionary’, and is easy to remember.
- Beachionary is a new website and therefore a lot of work is needed in promotion and brand awareness to attract users.
- The online travel market is growing fast.
- 2 in 3 travellers are using search engines to research their trip.
- The use of social media by travellers is growing faster than the travel industry itself.
- Social networking is playing critical role in online travel bookings.
- There are no social networks exclusively for travel or strictly devoted to summer destinations.
Who advised you your idea isn't going to be successful and why didn't you listen to them?
- There are already a number of well established travel websites with big influence in the travel market. They have detected the significance of social networking and are using social media to create awareness and drive traffic to their websites.
Actually none! All the people we discussed about our idea and our intention to set up a startup on this idea identified the gap in the market for a website specialized in beaches all over the world and encouraged us to make this step.
What is your success metric 12 months from now?
To grow into a considerable active user base. This will help us pursue better advertising deals in order to grow our revenue. Besides the money factor, having a large user base will prove that our idea is valid and that the service can be useful to the average traveler.
NB: TLabs Showcase is part of the wider TLabs project from Tnooz.