TLabs Showcase on travel startups featuring US-based Toour, a new service for consumers to build their own and discover destination tours and activities.
Who and what are you (including personnel and backgrounds)?
Toour helps travelers plan the best part of their tripsâ€”we call it the “what to do when you get there” app.
On Toour, users can create, share, and discover toours (our version of tours) of their favourite places around the world.
Itâ€™s a convenient way to discover things to do from people who travel the way you doâ€”whether they are friends of yours, acquaintances, or fellow travelers that you havenâ€™t met.
Iâ€™m Jessica Faye Carter, the founder and CEO of Toour. My background is in corporate law, and Iâ€™m a self-taught programmer. Of course I love to travel, but donâ€™t ask me my favourite cityâ€”because Iâ€™ll probably end up naming three or four.
What financial support did you have to launch the business?
Self-funded (bootstrapped) currently, though investors have recently begun reaching out to me.
What problem are you trying to solve?
When looking for things to do on a trip, the average traveler uses a mix of resources including guidebooks, travel sites, location-based services, blogs, maps, friends, family, and other trip planning resources.
And it doesnâ€™t end there – then you have to sift through the information to figure out which advice is most useful to you based on your travel preferences and the type of trip youâ€™re taking.
Toour aims to streamline this part of the travel planning process.
Describe the business, core products and services?
Our site has primarily two functions for travelers: to help them plan trips or to chronicle travel experiences after the fact.
Users can begin the trip planning process by searching for other user-created toours on our site, and can use their own travel preferences (e.g., sports, history) or destination to filter the search. Once a user finds a toour they like, they can customize it further to add or remove locations.
Other users may want to chronicle their travels, such as a family keeping track of their favorite vacation spots during a trip.
Or they can do creative things, like, for example, a guy who wants to keep track of all the dates heâ€™s taken his girlfriend on.
He can create a toour and add the locations from our site, along with pictures from their dates. Then, on the night he proposes to her, he can have a really cute timeline of their dating historyâ€”or else he can just pretend he has a photographic memory. We wonâ€™t tell.
Who are your key customers and users at launch?
Our primary customers are people who travel. Whether they travel 10+ times a year or plan one annual vacation; from gap year travel to family vacations. Travel dreamers are also welcomeâ€”nothing wrong with a bit of wishful traveling!
Did you have customers validate your idea before investors?
Yes; potential customers are very enthusiastic about our idea.
What is the business AND revenue model, strategy for profitability?
Our revenue strategies include free and paid account types, and partnerships. We donâ€™t sell user data in any format.
SWOT analysis â€“ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?
- Toour is useful, has a sleek UI, and is easy to use
- Enthusiastic customers
- Social features
- Small team (but weâ€™re nimble!)
- Fragmentation in social travel market means that there are many potential users available
- Many new entrants to the online/social travel space
- Larger players may enter the market (some have already begun to make initial forays into this space)
Who advised you your idea isn’t going to be successful and why didn’t you listen to them?
Havenâ€™t had that experience. So far, our customer development has yielded overwhelmingly positive feedback.
What is your success metric 12 months from now?
Whatâ€™s most important to us is an active, vibrant community of usersâ€”that means our service has value to travelers.
Weâ€™ll also look at some of the more standard social metrics, such as active users and the like.