Singapore based online startup, Fiuzu, wants travellers – both leisure and business – to leaving the planning woes to it, and just enjoy the travel. Currently, the service is available for 24 destinations across 14 Asian countries – Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, China, Philippines, Korea, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Macau, Japan, Cambodia, Singapore and Taiwan.
Fiuzu.com, according Ong Zhong Liang, Co-founder of the site, was founded as a result of his and other founders’ annoyance with spending days sifting through reviews on traditional travel websites to find the best attractions to visit on vacation. Thus, the team of developers – part of the whom come from the Institute of High Performance Computing at Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR IHPC) — decided to focus on providing a tool for optimizing travel. “We aim to kickstart your personalized journey by generating an itinerary with activities that match the traveller’s time constrains, budget and interests,” says Liang.
“We aim to kickstart the traveller’s personalized journey by generating an itinerary with activities that match his/her time constrains, budget and interests,” he adds.
Fiuzu is targeting travellers who don’t want to settle for standard tour packages, but would still want to get a good deal out of their trip. The website focuses on largely three aspects:
- First, the web-based application lets users find places of interest in their city of destination. A user can then plan his or her trip around this itinerary, which can span seven days. This will include the approximate time needed to explore a certain landmark or place of interest, plus the approximate cost of the activities there.
- Second, users can collaborate on building an itinerary with their friends. In effect, the website becomes a social network for trip planning.
- Third, locals can act as a “personal information assistant”. The site actually connects travellers to locals who are from the area, so travellers get a better feel of their destination before even going there.
Show me the money, honey!
The startup’s business model will hinge on partnerships with travel companies and establishments. Revenues will come from advertising proceeds, commission sales and sales from the planned mobile app. “The commissions come from a few sources – the booking of local guides through a secure payment system in fiuzu.com, and from partnering with airlines, hotels and transport providers,” Liang says, adding, “Advertisements can be displayed in the form of banner advertisements, as well as in-line recommendations for certain places of interest, where companies can pay to be featured more often in the generated itineraries.”
Meanwhile, the mobile application will be launched under a “freemium” model, where the app itself will be released for free, but functionalities and services will be premium. These will include the ability to create and store multiple itineraries and add more information sources.
The online service wants to build and refine the web app first before going into monetization, as the team is “still building the infrastructure for the above transactions, as we prefer to first have a working core product,” the Co-founder says.
The application is currently in beta, and users are invited to try out Fiuzu’s trip planning features. The company, which is currently bootstrapped, aims to release an app for iOS soon, followed by an app for Android, thereby covering today’s top mobile platforms.
In an earlier feature on the travel industry, e27 cited World Tourism Figures that predict 50 million tourism-related jobs in Asia alone by 2020. Thus, travel is a space ripe for disruption, and startups are already starting to build applications and services that address these needs. Many apps involve planning and pre-trip activities, such as reviews, booking services and comparison sites. Others offer last-minute hotel bookings, some offer peer-to-peer home rentals, and others offer transportation services like rentals. Fiuzu is mostly involved in the planning, although the startup can also benefit from partnerships with other companies that offer travel-related services across the industry.