TLabs Showcase on travel startups featuring France-based food tourism activity platform Spoontrip.
Who and what are you (including personnel and backgrounds)?
Spoontrip is an international marketplace for activities related to food and wine.
Site-specific visits, meet-and-greets with producers, tastings, gourmet ateliers, cooking classes, weekend stays at a farm, and gastronomy-themed holidays are just a sampling of the offers found on http://spoontrip.com.
- Isabelle Mellinger, aka Queen of Risotto Primavera, former consultant, worked in banking and improving companies’ operational performance,
- David Biais, never missed a 5am breakfast with Japanese fishermen at Tsukiji Fish Market, CEO of a green advertising business since 2006.
The duo, both food connoisseurs and frequent travellers, have decided to introduce the niche they themselves had been looking for: a guide for foodie travellers using gastronomy as an entry point into a culture.
What financial support did you have to launch the business?
The company is so far personally funded.
What problem are you trying to solve?
Spoontrip brings far-flung travellers and local adventure together, using food and wine as a means of cultural discovery. The site’s mission is to enable globetrotters to discover a place through its regional products and the passionate people who make them.
Spoontrip provides a unique perspective on getting to know a new place, by putting good taste, fun experiences, and convivial cultural exchange at the forefront. Our motto: Travel far, Eat local.
Describe the business, core products and services?
Offers are added and managed on the site by the activity providers themselves. Travellers can search the site by region, activity type, category and date.
Examples of activities:
- Meet at Café de Flore to learn all the good tips of Paris
- Truffle hunting in Provence
- A week of food and art in the heart of Tuscany
Visitors can communicate with the providers before sending the booking request through the website. They are invited to rate and comment on the attended activities.
The best rated offers will appear at the top of the search result list. Providers pay a fee to Spoontrip only when they receive the payment for a reserved activity.
Who are your key customers and users at launch?
Did you have customers validate your idea before investors?
- Activity providers: passionate professionals and dedicated aficionados proud of their products and eager to provide travellers with a unique experience, mostly in Europe at first.
- Visitors: families, couples, solo travellers or groups of friends, worldwide.
We’ve tested the concept with food bloggers and activity providers.
What is the business AND revenue model, strategy for profitability?
The use of the platform is free, as is user registration and the listing of the offers. A service fee (15%) is collected on the sale when the provider receives payment for the activity. All transactions are regulated through PayPal.
SWOT analysis – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?
- We’re specialized in food and wine activities.
- We give visibility to providers to promote their businesses.
- Knowing local products and producers allows us to list offers that no travel agency would propose, providing visitors with off-the-beaten track experiences.
- We have multilingual translation tool for offers and internal messaging (English, French, Spanish, Italian) which is a must have to work in Europe.
- The use of the PayPal payment system allows activity providers to create an account with a simple email address.
- Web development team is outsourced at the moment,
- As any start-up, we have a time to market issue.
- France is number 1 travel destination in the world (80 million visitors yearly),
- Strong tradition of food & wine culture in Europe,
- Massive trend of food blogging worldwide,
- Global trend of collaborative consumption.
Who advised you your idea isn't going to be successful and why didn't you listen to them?
- Major actors of the online travel industry could enter this specific niche.
Friends and family were reluctant at first, mainly because they were afraid of the entrepreneurs’ struggle to success. They are step by step being convinced by the potential of the concept.
What is your success metric 12 months from now?
A happy community, 10.000 offers, 100.000 visitors per month.
NB: TLabs Showcase is part of the wider TLabs project from Tnooz.