Do you have a good startup idea in the travel industry? Awesome! Read this before your start. Most likely your idea sucks. These observations were made while working on the GuideRadar.com project and doing some research in the area.
Your are not from the industry
It’s one of the biggest problems. You are designer, coder, whatever and you don’t have any experience besides you “really love traveling and decided to build a product for people like yourself”.
Do you know the difference between a tour agency and a tour operator? What, you don’t care? You don’t need it? Then you are in trouble, because those guys are most likely the ones you need to cooperate with! Anyone from the industry could tell you it, if you had a chance to ask them instead of working on your “very sophisticated system for something”.
Be ready to ask questions or you will waste your time, time of your investors and, which is worse, time of your customers.
You are not planning to support mobile users
Welcome to the travel startup failure fast lane! It’s only you, who takes their laptop while traveling. It’s because you are a developer, designer, marketer or tester. Nobody else does it, believe me or better ask your potential customers.
By refusing to support mobile users, e.g. by not implementing a responsible design, you are saying that you don’t need 55 percent of regular customers and almost everyone who is traveling now.
Don’t have enough money for a mobile app? Sure you don’t, in the other case you won’t be reading this article. It’s ok, just make your website responsive at least to tell your users you do care about them.
You are solving a wrong problem
Why have you decided the problem you are trying to solve is really a problem? How often do users plan their trips? Do they plan trips at all? How many of them do plan? Do they book a hotel and a flight on the same day? Do they usually know what will they will be doing during their vacation? How carefully do they plan? How long do they stay? Which languages do they speak? Are you tired because of those questions? Without knowing these basics, most likely you will fail.
Did you know that for tours and activities your main competitors are not GetYourGuide or Viator? Guess what, your main competitors are folks with flyers that are catching your customers and converting them more efficiently than any of your Facebook Ad campaigns.
It’s funny, but agencies don’t want to go online. They don’t have enough money and motivation for it. To convert them, you need to solve the problem of their education and training. By the way, they don’t want to pay for it.
Someone has already implemented it!
Are you sure you want to do something, that is already implemented and is doing well? How are you going to be better than your competitors?
Are you kidding me? Have you seen how many existing solutions in this area? Do you really think you are better than Booking.com? Airbnb? Agoda?
Really? I’ve noticed the small “s” between the “o” and the “t”. What next? HOSTELWORLD, Airbnb, Booking.com.
Booking tours and activities
Sounds attractive, isn’t it? Let me introduce you Viator and GetYourGuide.com. Have I mentioned TripAdvisor bought Viator and now the biggest tourist attraction reviews database in the world is combined with the biggest online tours and activities booking platform. Perfect match, making every other product look very poorly on the market.
Awesome, I like it so much. You should be very excited, since you must be a big fan of Tripomatic and TripHobo! Next time plan your trip using those guys and don’t implemented your own bicycle, most likely you won’t perform better than Tripomatic. Have I mentioned that Tripomatic uses Viator(yep, the biggest one) to provide their activities?
Multi-channel marketing for agencies
Nice,a B2B one! Means you a starting to think as a businessman… But then you should already know about Rezdy and other similar solutions!
What do you think about Bookeo, Rezgo and thousands widgets provided by services like Viator, GetYourGuide, Booking, you name it.
You are giving up too early
Read all the text above and decided to give up? Nice, then your idea doesn’t deserve to exist! How can you sell something to your customers if you don’t believe in it?
Yes, many of those ideas we are coming up with were already implemented by someone. But is every traveler happy? Is every travel agency uses all potential of the online market? I doubt so…
Forget all text above and continue working on your dream…