TLabs Showcase on travel startups featuring Australia-based trip planning and social network TraceMyTrip.
Who and what are you (including personnel and backgrounds)?
TraceMyTrip is a social network for travellers where people can book trips, store photos, videos and journals, and create maps. It also provides guides and live travel information anywhere in the world.
The site launched in December, and we've had 1.5 million people register in just four months.
Ryan Adams, founder of TraceMyTrip, is a keen traveller. While overseas in Java, Indonesia, Ryan kept in touch with family and friends back home with a personal blog and kept daily journals including photos and videos.
After returning home he started a small web development firm and spent his spare time in front of a computer developing what would later become TraceMyTrip.
TraceMyTrip is now run by a small team based in South Australia.
What financial support did you have to launch the business?
Other than personal funds and a lot of time, a small private investment was made to get the social network off the ground for the first 6 months.
What problem are you trying to solve?
Travellers need simple solutions for photo storing, socialising, and to access to up-to-date travel information. They want something easy, fast and fun to use, but it must be secure and private.
Internet time is often limited for travellers, so having a one-stop-shop for all their online travel needs is critical.
TraceMyTrip is a social network that lets travellers stay connected to family back home, or catch up with friends on the road.
We offer a single, secure location with a range of customisable services so people can use the site to do exactly what they want, quickly and easily.
Describe the business, core products and services?
Registration is free, and offers travellers the following services:
Who are your key customers and users at launch?
- Mapping. People can map their journey to share their current location, where they've been and where they are going. Integrated in the system is live flight management. Itineraries with flight numbers and directions from airport to hotel can be printed from the site.
- Photo and video storage. TraceMyTrip stores photos and videos at the same resolution as captured by camera and offers a high speed upload rate. People can print out albums, scrapbooks and happy snaps when they get home, or just download files for safekeeping.
- Bookings. Flights, tours, cruises, and accommodation can be booked from the site at competitive rates.
- Information sharing. Users can create a journal or blog to share with friends. There's also real-time chat, travel advisories and destination guides.
Our key market are people aged 18 to 30 who are travelling or intend to travel in the near future. The wide range of services means it has appeal to both business travellers and backpackers. Digital nomads are a major market for us.
Did you have customers validate your idea before investors?
Yes. We ran trials with travellers and extensive market testing for six months, and received positive feedback from users. That told us the idea works, helped us fine tune the concept, and gave us something to show to potential investors.
What is the business AND revenue model, strategy for profitability?
TraceMyTrip has many strategies for revenue such as:
SWOT analysis – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?
- A specifically designed geo-located pay per click advertising platform.
- Online travel agents.
- Subscription services to be launched in the near future.
- TraceMyTrip is adaptive, and can add and change features on the site to match what our users want. We can deliver high speed and efficient content around the globe.
- Although TraceMyTrip can be accessed on mobile platforms, we are lacking several apps which could add value to the site.
- We can offer geographically targeted content to our users and partners, keeping location-specific advertising is relevant. TraceMyTrip has potential to become a widely recognised brand for travellers.
Who advised you your idea isn't going to be successful and why didn't you listen to them?
- Larger organisations becoming potential competitors.
It's easy for others to say an idea won't work, but you don't know until you try it. Entrepreneurship is about balancing risks with benefits.
Several people pointed out the difficulties in building an initial membership base and standing out from existing social networks.
However, through online marketing TraceMyTrip membership has grown quickly. We reached over a million members in under four months and are continuing to expand our user base and services.
What is your success metric 12 months from now?
In 12 months, we hope to reach six million active users around the globe.
NB: TLabs Showcase is part of the wider TLabs project from Tnooz.