TripUniq, the Spain-based startup that provides travelers with bespoke travel itineraries for 82 cities across six continents, received a €170,000 round of funding last May.
Since launching in 2015, while part of accelerator program SeedRocket, the startup has brought more than 5,600 travelers together with local city bloggers, influencers and guides who have created 20,000 daily itineraries via the TripUniq platform. Yet, the app has only been downloaded about 7,000 times since launch.
from Spanish investors Cabiedes & Partners and Lanta Digital Venture as well as Zanox co-founder Heiko Rauch, Friendly Rentals Founder and Spanish Tourism Apartments President Pablo Zubicaray and Airbnb’s Latin America General Manager Jordi Torres Mallol –among others.
CEO Charles Elias says:
“Our marketing strategy hasn’t ben mobile so far. Some of our travelers aged 50 and older still prefer PDFs.”
In fact, TripUniq’s success doesn’t stem from a customer base of Millennials, but rather travelers 30 and over who either don’t have time to invest in researching and planning a trip that combines a city’s main attractions with local experiences or, those 50 and over who take solace in a pre-planned travel itinerary that’s been authored by an expert located in the destination.
The company’s growth has been slow and deliberate since its launch, with in-house staff increasing to a total of nine, from the initial startup team of three co-founders.
TripUniq’s community of “Local Heroes” currently consists of about 200 local itinerary planners. Elias describes the team of experts as “a passionate group of both residents indigenous to the city and expats, who love to explore their own city and who also love to travel.”
He also adds that while many are between 25 and 35, overall ages range from 18 to 70.
An affiliate program with local bloggers and influencers has also generated “an important part of TripUniq’s sales,” according to Elias.
“However, we haven’t had the time and resources to start social campaigns with them, but we plan to work on that this year.”
Elias also says another 1,800 applicants to be Local Heroes have not yet been vetted. But those who have been working with TripUniq have also provided feedback that has resulted in a more efficient platform for building itineraries.
“Thanks to direct contact with our Local Heroes, they have helped us to improve our tool so that they can build itineraries even faster now.”
The new efficiencies developed for the platform’s custom guide creator tool allows TripUniq’s freelance itinerary planners to save and edit previous points of interest and itineraries that allows them to borrow from their previous work. While they can’t duplicate itineraries, the new efficiency allows Local Heroes to earn €25 to €30 per an hour.
They can also increase earnings with add-on offerings, including faster delivery of itineraries, messaging assistance, a welcome drink or coffee –which all have fixed prices—as well as personal guide services, for which the local expert can set a price.
Also, the app now includes a messaging feature, the ability to share itineraries with others and new maps that are easier to navigate. Bugs have also been corrected.
To date, the company’s marketing strategy has been B2C-centric. TripUniq has also forged partnerships with Google Trips and a number of independent hotels and small hotel chains in order to grow its distribution network.
Elias says of the business’ B2B component:
“We solve the immediate need after booking a flight, accommodations or a flight and hotel package and that’s finding out and planning what to do while in the destination.
This year, Elias and his team won’t focus on expanding the global cities for which TripUniq’s services are available, but improving and expanding is existing product and services as well as consolidating operations. The company is currently raising its next round of funding with plans to launch a new, unspecified product.
However, Elias comments that the activities market is hot.
“We offer a disruptive solution covering the need for travel planning, which is the step prior to booking activities. Therefore, we have something to say about which tickets and activities our customers will purchase.”
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