Frustrated with the lengthy process of trying to research travel on the internet TouristPath's founders decided to attempt organising the sector via a massive travel and tourism information database.
The ultimate aim for the two-man team, Radoslaw Pujan and Dawid Dziewulski, was to provide a tool with so much information users wold not have to go elsewhere while also enabling them to plan a trip in under an hour.
The startup, as yet unfunded, says it sees no competition on the horizon although acknowledges sites such as ViaMichelin which, it claims, offer basic functionality and not a great user experience.
Going forward the revenue model will be hotel bookings, restaurant and hotel listings, potentially banner advertising and group itinerary planning services once a critical mass of users has been achieved.
Q&A with founder Radoslaw Pujan
Describe what your start-up does, what problem it solves (differently to what is already out there) and for whom?
It provides touristic information in any country in the world, in many languages. Users can easily see what is of interest in a particular area. Many online tools focus only on big cities but we also include small villages or even things hidden deep in a forest. The service can also provide maps of very specialized tourist attractions such as only Art nouveau architecture, street art, or Gothic churches.
And, it also helps users plan trips within minutes. Just choose location, number of days, domain of interest and it will prepare a map and track you should follow. Travellers can also create trips and share it with their friends to plan trip together. Then print it and enjoy the holidays.
Why should people or companies use your startup?
For users it will act as a free tourist guide, that is easy to read than a guidebook. Companies will use our widget (currently in development) to provide them with a map of the area with their business (hotel, b&b, etc..) and its surrounding tourist attractions.
Other than going viral and receiving mountains of positive PR, what is the strategy for raising awareness and getting customers/users?
The widget mentioned in the previous answer. It will be like an auto-commercial. And users themselves, if they find it useful and interesting, they will send it to their friends. It is free and for the people.
How did your initial idea evolve? Were there changes/any pivots along the way? What other options have you considered for the business if the original vision fails?
We have kept to the same idea from the beginning. So no pivots yet. If the business fails, then we will think. It is too fresh an idea so we haven't thought about it yet.
Where do you see yourselves in 3 years time, what specific challenges do you hope to have overcome (please refrain from using biggest, best or most awesome in your answer)?
The service will grow as we have many ideas still to add into it. My guess is that we will be twice as big. But, most important is that the database of places will grow, as users can propose their translations for every place, and can also add new places.
What is wrong with the travel, tourism and hospitality industry that requires another startup to help it out?
There are thousands of websites offering hotels, flight search etc. but, there is nothing worldwide showing tourist attractions enabling people to see around before they go for holidays. Like a world map of tourism.
There's something about this startup that makes you want to find out more. To be sure it's not the trip planning elements because that has been done before especially when social travel is thrown into the mix.
When you question the founders on the number of these sites already in the sector with similar functionality and their belief that they have no competition, they are adamant that what they're doing is different and their extensive market research showed up nothing similar.
Bullish, madly enthusiastic and a bit naive? Maybe, but good luck all the same.
The 'something' might therefore be in the approach TouristPath is taking. It is an interactive map of the world with all places plotted on it, both well known and hidden.
One of the criticisms often levelled at trip planning sites, as per this article, is the limited coverage of anything outside major cities and TouristPath aims to address this.
The sharing elements of the service are also interesting because it not only allows users to build trips and share via social media but it also enables them to continue to build on the service by adding places to the database and providing translations of what they see in their own language.
Further simpler and more intuitive iterations are on the way, the service only launched in mid-January, to ensure it is easy for any user.
Very early success(more than 100 users per day with very little promotion) has prompted the founders to think about investment while it continues to tweak and improve the service. More impressive is the 22 minutes average time spent on the site according to the founders, showing people are having a good look around.
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