TLabs Showcase - Urban AdventuresNewsBy Kevin May | April 12, 2011Share This article was originally published on TLabs Showcase on travel startups featuring Thailand-based day tour and activities platform Urban Adventures. Who and what are you (including personnel and backgrounds)?Urban Adventures is a joint venture between Intrepid Travel and the WHL Group bringing together 21 years of awarding winning experience in the Adventure travel market and local connections around the world via sophisticated e-commerce solution. Our general manager, Mark Robson, has over a ten years experience in the adventure travel industry first starting as a group leader with Intrepid Travel in Asia and progressing along through various management roles throughout the years. He still resides in Bangkok so is right in amongst the action.Our global sales manager, Klaudija Janzelj, lives in Prague. She brings a wealth of travel experience to the team having been a Tour Guide in Tunisia, working as a director of sales with the WHL Group and is forever travelling the world.Our product co-ordinator, Boontarika resides in Bangkok and started her career in Adventure travel with Intrepid Travel as a Retail Consultant in their Bangkok Retail store.Our Tech team, based in Vietnam and headed up by Nguyen Ngoc Tuan, are the backbone of the operation. They love a challenge and Urban Adventures has given them that challenge.Our Urban Adventure partners are the real local connection in all destinations and the face of the company and we’re extremely proud of them.What financial support did you have to launch the business?The venture was launched with a small budget with both partners contributing significant resources and know how from it’s human capital base.What problem are you trying to solve?Urban Adventures provides the traveller with a genuine local connection to the destination that they are travelling in by supplying unique day tours in over 100 cities.The market is fragmented and there is no consistency from one destination to the next for the traveller.We’re not only introducing unique experiential tours but we’re also introducing a global offering, so the traveller can do an Urban Adventure in London, enjoy it and next time they travel check out what we have on offer knowing they’ll get the same real experience, standard of service and quality of product.The traveller can even do them in their home town. We have quiet a few travellers doing this and the comments coming through are "I learnt things about my own home town that I never knew" or "I saw my home town from a whole new angle".Describe the business, core products and services?Urban Adventures are unique day tours in over 100 cities.Starting with three destinations and 15 tours just over 18 months ago we now have over 100 destinations contracted and over 200 tours available in destinations as far apart as Apia in Samoa to London in the United Kingdom.You can have dinner with a local family, take a walking tour with a local guide giving an insight into what makes the place tick, jump on local transport to unearth hidden gems that you would not be able to find on your own and still discover some of the more iconic places that travellers all love to see.Who are your key customers and users at launch?Our clientele are diverse in age and nationality however share one passion…they seek out "real" experiences when they travel.They want to interact with the destination at a local level and not just skim the surface visiting the key icons to tick off the list. We say that tourists don’t travel on Urban Adventures, travellers do.Did you have customers validate your idea before investors?Absolutely… In our first full calendar year of operation we have had 15,000 travellers enjoy an Urban Adventure.What is the business AND revenue model, strategy for profitability?Volume… as a day tour business the price of the tour and subsequently the margins in dollar terms are low.We run a lean business model with the aim of driving the benefits through to our travellers by providing quality real local experiences and also to our partners in each destination by providing them with a profitable business model.Win-win-win scenarios for all involved.SWOT analysis – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?Strengths: Backed by Intrepid Travels 21 years of award winning experience in the adventure travel industry.Sophisticated e-commerce solutions for seamless integration with prospective distributors.Multiple distribution channels from online to via traditional travel agents.Passion for experiential/adventure travel.International quality assurance standards.We own our product, we don’t simple resell or aggregate someone else’s tours. Weaknesses: New to the segment of the industry. Opportunities: Introducing a global concept to a fragmented niche in the travel industry (day tour market).Operating in a niche of the travel marketing that is growing – experiential travel.Selling both international and local in destination we can tap all levels of the purchase path. Threats: We’re a relatively small team with limited resources but driven by a passion for what we do.Who advised you your idea isn't going to be successful and why didn't you listen to them?We had some comments from people in the Travel Industry that what we were trying to do was a huge task and they didn’t believe us when we said we would have 100 destinations contracted in the first 18 months with such a small team.We proved them wrong by signing our 100th destination on Christmas Eve last year.We didn’t listen to them because we believe in our team of remarkable individuals from Urban Adventures at a corporate level down to all our partners around the world.The most innovative and creative bunch of individuals you will ever had the pleasure of being associated with.What is your success metric 12 months from now?Quality of our product - The feedback we receive from our travellers – we have a goal of a 4.5 rating out of 5 from our travellers for their overall experience. We are currently tracking 4.49 for the year to date and 93% of our travellers say they will travel with us again. These are good figures but we’re aiming for better.Sales – last calendar year we carried over 15,000 travellers. This year we want to carry 50,000 travellers.Happy people – we want happy staff, partners and travellers. NB: TLabs Showcase is part of the wider TLabs project from Tnooz.