Not just another deals service, GringoLocal set to launch in the next few days, wants to act as a source of local deals helping travellers plan a trip.
The Brazil-based startup plans to focus on and raise awareness of good value, local experiences as well as curate deals to ensure they are relevant to the traveller.
The approach is to aggregate deals from several sources, filter the most suitable for travellers, translate texts to English, and convert prices to US dollars. Finally, it will publish and promote these deals.
The team comprisesÂ four including computer engineers Daniel Madruga, who is chief technology officer and Wilton Pinheiro who is chief executive. The pair have been business partners since 2008 and created B2Learn, a startup sold in 2011 as well as ViajeMeÂ an inspirational travel website that has been gaining traction in Brazil.
Renato Malzoni, a former Merrill Lynch banker and entrepreneur and Ricardo Macedo, a senior merger and aquisition partner at law firm Pereira Neto Macedo are also on board as investors and advisers.
Funding for the bootstrapped GringoLocal is approximately US $100,000.
Every year around five million people visit Brazil, 40 million visit Italy, 55 million visit Spain and 70 million visit France. Thatâ€™s a huge market with a share of those travelers looking for a unique experience that will make their trip remarkable. The target market isÂ around the US$80 billion spent in tours, activities and restaurants in Latin America and Europe.
Gtrot and Travelzoo have similar approach, however they are limited to USA destinations and GringoLocal plans to targetÂ European and Latin American destinations that havenâ€™t been explored by other players and also claims to be well-connected with local players in those regions.
Revenue for the startup will be earned from commission and referral fees from deals bought over the site as well as booking fees for dealsÂ bought at GringoLocal. The startup hopes to be profitable within six months.
Q&A with chief executive Wilton Pinheiro:
How is the way you are solving this problem more special or effective than previous attempts you or the market has seen before and how different do you have to be to succeed?
When we think about travel experiences we think about services like tours, activities, restaurants, bars, clubs, wellness, etc. Many companies have been trying to create a marketplace or transactional websites to sell/book these services online, but itâ€™s not a simple task.
The work is even more challenging in our differentiated approach, where we want to bring non-obvious and special and customized offers from unique providers in a number of destinations around the globe.
We have found a solution that we believe will help us to be successful. The boom of deals and coupons websites has created a valuable network of service providers including travelâ€“related ones. Also, the deals are offered by local people, thus the experiences are far from being obvious activities found in guidebooks. Most tourists are keen on avoiding tourist traps, thus GringoLocal is a great place to find local experiences.
Why should people or companies use your startup?
People will find amazing things to do at their destination for a great price. For people looking to avoid common tourist stuff we are the best place to search and buy it. The cherry on the cake, is the convenience of the website, which aggregates the offers and filters those travel-related in English.
Other than going viral and receiving mountains of positive PR, what is the strategy for raising awareness and getting customers/users?
The golden path to raise awareness and be loved by your customers is by creating a great product selection and providing a great user experience. We believe that GringoLocal has huge potential to become known through the word of mouth.
There are two factors that make travelling exciting: first, you live the experience â€“ a cultural encounter, tasting great local food, enjoying a beautiful sunset. Second, you share your experience with friends. The latter has increased in reach and speed with the development of social groups in the internet â€“ Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
Active marketing to show GringoLocal to the world will be done via the following channels:
- Google Ads
- Facebook Ads
- Facebook Fan Page
- Mailing list
A PR agency will be engaged to promote GringoLocal to the press. We expect great impact, as entrepreneurship is creating hype in Brazil, thus the media is covering the stories of many new businesses, including dotcoms.
What other options have you considered for the business and the team if the original vision fails?
GringoLocal is the second travel related startup launched by this group of entrepreneurs. The first one solves the inspirational Â´where to travelÂ´element, while the second focuses on solving the Â´what to do when I get thereÂ´ question. We believe the tourist scene is dynamic, thus new experiences appear every day. So even if both initiatives become unsuccessful, the problem will continue to exist and our motivation to find a solution will be even greater.
We are mentally and financially prepared to review the business model for the next eight months. So, if ViajeMe and GringoLocal do not take-off you will probably see more from us.
What mistakes have you made in the past in business and how have you learned from them?
Taking too long to go to market. Itâ€™s so easy to create your own world where your product fits and scale perfectly when you are developing it, so we try to avoid that by creating beautiful MVPâ€™s very fast to validate our main hypothesis.
What is wrong with the travel, tourism and hospitality industry that requires another startup to help it out?
The problems we are trying to solve are:
- It’s hard for travellers to find local experiences at a great price
- Travellers usually are not aware or can’t access local deals offers because of language barriers or a relevant deals selection
- Information needs to be updated faster than guidebooks can be updated
Weâ€™re not the first startup to try to solve the mentioned problems; we are just trying to solve it from a different approach. Most travel communities try to get travellers to support fellow travellers. Guidebooks are not updated frequently. We believe that the best tips are usually local and they evolve/change rapidly, and this is what we want to explore!
Thatâ€™s our role and our value to the market as a startup, test different approaches to a problem quickly and at low cost.
Taking on two already crowded markets – deals and local experience providers – is a daring move but GringoLocal at least has the fact that it is located in Brazil with a buzzing startup environment and targeting Latin America in its favour.
Less certain are its plans to conquer Europe where there are already a plethora of fledgling businesses offering local tours, experiences and activities, not to mention the deals space.
The venture also has founders with financial, technology backgrounds as well as previous startup experience which will help move the business forward.
The addition of the translation service adds a nice quirky element and should mean some authentic, truly local experiences.
GringoLocal believes it will be able to scale quickly and gain new partners along the way and has lofty ambitions of profit within six months and break-even in under a year. The challenge is that everyone seems to want a piece of the tours and activities market at the moment and some have already fallen by the wayside.
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