Collaborative-consumption-based travel startups are on the rise, especially peer-to-peer (P2P) platforms that connect travellers and locals.
, a Spain-based startup, has created a platform where locals can list their trip offering -- it can be a tour of the local market, a cycling expedition, etc. -- for travellers to browse and buy.
Currently, trip activities offered on the site are only in Spanish.
is founded by Gloria Molins (CEO), along with Vernoica Brezzo (COO). Other key members include: Claudia Peyrí, marketing manager; Anna Cañadell, content manager; and Matías Vives, community manager; and Maria Santolaria, innovation consultant.
The founders themselves invested $40,000 with an additional $75,000 funding from the government. Trip4real also says that by October this year it will raise an additional $300,000.
CEO Gloria Molins recently told Tnooz why she started Trip4Real:
"As travel passionate, we realize the importance of getting to know a place through its people as well as how experiences make us happier than material things.When people travel they want to get to know a place like a person that lives there, that is why we decided to create a platform to connect travellers with locals in order to discover Spain as never done before: through its people.After 7 years living abroad, I went back to Barcelona and in less than 10 months founded what trip4real is today: A startup more than 350 activities in Spain that are created and hosted by locals, with traffic from around the world and funding party from the Spanish government."
Q&A with Gloria Molins below.
Describe what your start-up does, what problem it solves and for whom?
Trip4real is a revolutionary from of travel that offers travelers the most authentic possibility to know Spain through unique activities organized and carried out by local people.
We believe that a personal experience is much more enriching and provides more happiness than any material object.
And, probably, few experiences contribute to one's happiness as traveling, by which I mean, really getting to know how that place really is, from the inside -- living the most authentic parts.
In trip4real we work to offer the world unique and quality activities created by local experts so that the travelers can know and enjoy the most authentic part of a country as marvelous as Spain.
Experiences, which in another way, they could never live because in tourist guides they simply do not appear.
This way, we help create a community where travelers find not only more economic alternatives to the traditional touristic programs, but we also contribute towards creating micro-entrepreneurs that can make their passion their lifestyle.
In Trip4real, if we are capable of providing moments of happiness, either great or small, then we give ourselves more than satisfied.Why should people or companies use your startup?
We help travellers with the common question: “what will I do once I get there?”, as well as connect them with local experts to discover a place in a different and unique way.
Different form B2C marketplaces, trip4real brings a personal touch with activities hosted and carried out by local experts.
Our claim is: be a traveller, not a tourist.
Response to a new concept/need in the traveling sector
Connects people from peer to peer so they can live unique and exclusive experiences
Trip4real is defined as an experiences marketplace with infinite categories, different formats and prices
We guarantee quality standards
- Positioning in a specific market which in return provides us a better content quality and better experiences than our competitors.
What do you think is the market size for Trip4real?
- We focus all our efforts on: Quality control and local attractions
Demand: Spain is the fourth most popular tourist destination after France, the USA, and China, and the second highest generated income out of the tourist industry of any country. There were 56.9 million visitors last year, as part of a rising trend.
Supply: Due to the country’s situation there are many talented people interested in offering high quality activities. We have a weekly growth of 75% in approved new activities.
We estimated that we will list more than 1,000 activities by the end of the year in Spain as well as have more than 5.5 million potential customers.
Other than going viral and receiving mountains of positive PR, what is the strategy for raising awareness and getting customers/users?
- Having unique and incredible activities, different from the traditional offer in the market, that allow the traveler to experience moments with Spanish locals not accesible in any other way.
- Focusing on our users: Passionate travellers and Spanish locals.
- Continue to grow our content, we’re publishing new activities every day.
- Working from Spain allows us to grow faster than any other competitor doing it from somewhere else. Having quality and diverse offers allows us to cover all the demand.
- Partnering with strategic players, in the next few months we will be announcing different key partnerships.
- With Spain now in a difficult moment, we are happy to be creating micro-entrepreneurs, as we promote amazing activities to people from around the world and allow our community to make a living doing what they love.
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?
- Each activity on site generates a URL that indexes in Google and the locals can promote individually by sharing it in their social networks of doing their own email marketing. It works as if they had a small website for their idea.
The first idea was to just connect locals with travellers for a coffee, tea or beer. We discovered how important it is to chat at least for an hour with a person that lives where you’re visiting. Just a conversation with them gives you plenty of valuable tips on things to do.
From there we moved into the activity scene as we realised the travellers enjoyed the tips and wanted to go further and experience local people’s life.
We believe P2P is the new way to travel, although we are aware of the financials of this model.
Building the supply side of the business is much more costly than it seems, that is why it is crucial to start regional to become global as we’ve been doing.
We don’t believe in opening worldwide without enough content or poor quality offering.
Therefore, our strategy is to have the best content in Spain to change into a wider model at the time needed.
Where do you see yourselves in 3 years time, what specific challenges do you hope to have overcome?
We see Trip4real as the Mediterranean & Latin marketplace go-to-spot for unique travel activities.
With high quality content and a huge community ready to help travellers (not tourists) discover the way people live in these amazing cities.
And helping passionate locals make a living doing what they love.
What is wrong with the travel, tourism and hospitality industry that requires another startup to help it out?
Travel has seen tremendous innovation in flight and accommodation booking, especially with sites such as Skyscanner and Airbnb disrupting the industry.
But once their reservations are booked, travelers still rely on old-school (and costly) guidebooks, travel agents and online forums to plan their itineraries, which will probably be without even meeting a local person who lives there. That’s the blind spot of the travel industry.
The sharing economy -- people letting strangers share time in their house or cars -- has been extending to other areas, such as people sharing their knowledge about destinations.
Clearly, Trip4real is not new to the game. Its founders acknowledge that their company has competitors.
Rivals include: Peek (US), Toursbylocals (US), Localguiding (US), Sidetour (US), Pigafe (EU), Meetrip.to (JP),
Govoyagin (JP), Triip (Asia), Vayable (Global), Gidsy (not in existence as a standalone player, but bought by GetYourGuide).
While there are regional players existing across the globe, Trip4real claims that nobody offers extensive and quality trip offerings/activities with as much depth as it does in Spain. Thus, two months after launching, trip4real has eight times more content than any global competitor in Barcelona.
This particular market is still evolving. We believe there will be many new regional and country-focused P2P startups in future.
Trip4real's advisory board is strong with people from various expertise: Jeroen Merchiers, COO Airbnb; Pol Navarro, COI Banc Sabadell; Lourdes Roura, Financial Advisor; KissLab, SEO experts and Marc Vicente, CEO of Rakuten.
The presence of an Airbnb executive on Trip4real's board is interesting, as Airbnb itself is experimenting with allowing its renters to offer activities as an additional service.
While Trip4real has scope for growth, there are few key questions:
1. How can the startup guarantee that the promised experience is delivered?
2. How is the security of travellers addressed?
3. Is there an element of travel insurance involved in the sell/buy transaction?
4. Why would a traveller trust a local person who offers trip activity services? Where is the trust established? Are we in the need of a new player (like TripAdvisor) who can provide rating/review for every person offering trip activity service?
Trip4real's revenue model is commission-based. It charges an 18% fee for every transaction, which it feels is deserved because of the services it provides in marketing, search engine optimisation (SEO), customer service, PR, and quality control. We feel this is a good commission number.
In the next 2 years, at least 30 different companies are going to become experts in their own (local) region. It's going to be interesting to see how these region-focussed players are going to go global.
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