Malaysia-based Tourplus has today announced the launch of its Alpha website to help travellers discover super-detailed travel itineraries that make the ones available on TripAdvisor look like weak sauce.
Available cities at launch will be Kuala Lumpur, Malacca, Penang, Ipoh and Johor (all in Malaysia), with plans to expand regionally and eventually globally. The Alpha version has been in development for just one month.
“Tourplus is a platform for travellers to access itineraries shared by other travellers around the world… They can adopt the itinerary instantly and customise [it] to their preference,” Rickson Goh, the Co-founder of Tourplus, told e27.
In developing the platform, Goh was well aware that many people currently refer to TripAdvisor’s itineraries. To turn this into a successful product in its own right, Tourplus would have to deliver a far superior niche offering.
“[With TripAdvisor or other platforms], I still have to plan time, costs, transportation, and other things. Planning the itinerary is actually quite challenging for travellers… From when you begin to have the thought to finalising the itinerary takes about 16 days,” Goh said, citing research from Expedia.
“With Tourplus they can make the research time just a few minutes, so it helps travellers make the decision fast about where they want to go, and to plan their itinerary instantly. They don’t have to find out costs, what the opening times of attractions are, and travel between A to B to C to D,” he added.
The idea is that Tourplus takes care of everything in one fell swoop. The startup has already secured a pre-seed angel round of MYR100,000 (US$27,000) in January, and is soon closing a US$300,000 seed round from a private investor expected in April.
The Tourplus team impressively boasts: National Winner of Creative Business Cup Malaysia 2014; Winning team at D3 Media Prima Wakalab Hackathon 2014; Best App of Commercialisation at AT&T KL Converge Hackathon 2014; Winning team of Astro GoInnovate Hackathon 2014; Top 500 Startup in Extreme Tech Challenge by Richard Branson; ALPHA Startup Exhibitor at Web Summit Dublin 2014; Creative Business Cup International Finalist at Copenhagen (Malaysia representative) and SEAMAC Regional Finalist 2015 at Singapore (Malaysia representative).
“[Last year] we were targeting the Europe market, but we came back and found out that actually we should focus on the Southeast Asia market first,” Goh said.
Tourplus is experimenting with revenue streams. One will be called ‘Treasure Hunt’, which will partner with local businesses in the traveller’s immediate vicinity to offer them promotions in return for snapping and uploading a photo to the app. It will be executed as a gamified experience.
Another likely revenue stream will be commission-based sales of attraction tickets directly to users through the app. This all hinges on clever use of geo-location advertising.
An estimated 360 million travellers passed through Malaysia last year, according to Goh’s research. He sees the online attractions booking space in the country as a blue ocean at present.
Look out for more on Tourplus as it evolves beyond the Alpha stage.
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