Ah Korea, land of the morning calm, the birthplace of K-pop, kimchi, and Samsung. Whether it’s food, culture or shopping, South Korea always has something to offer the traveller, no matter where he or she may be from.
That said, South Korea is so large and diverse that it’s a daunting task to find out which restaurant in Jeju Island sells the best Nabak Kimchi, or where one can find the most affordable street wear in Seoul. Another issue travellers face is that while there may be a lot of information about attractions in a country, much of this information may be scattered, inconsistent, and out of date.
Here, app development company Welothree aims to help travellers get updated information and make better travel decisions through its product, web and mobile Korea travel wiki Trazy. Started in November 2012, Trazy’s name came about from a portmanteau of the words “travel” and “crazy”. The team launched their beta service in 2013, after being selected as the Korea Travel Startup by Korean Tourism Organisation in 2012, and receiving funding from Korean government programmes like Yonsei Enterprise Support Foundation.
A look at Trazy’s homepage suggests a bold, mobile-friendly site that makes use of bright colours to draw the attention of users. Visitors can search for and discover attractions through a few ways. The first is by selecting categories such as dining or shopping, after which a map showing the locations of various restaurants or shopping malls is shown. Travellers can also browse individual entries, which include hot attractions, travel themes, and unique experiences.
True to its positioning as a wiki, the information in Trazy is crowdsourced, with individual travellers contributing their reviews and experiences. When one clicks on an attraction in the map preview, one is brought to a page that lists information about the attraction such as reviews, prices, directions, and opening hours. Travel themes are made up of lists of such attractions.
To encourage submissions, Trazy rewards top contributors in the form of Amazon gift cards and PayPal credits. The site monetises through selling travel experiences from attractions such as K-pop workshops and museums, and offers email coupons from participating outlets and attractions. Currently, Trazy covers four cities in Korea: Seoul, Busan, Jeju, and Incheon.
Recently, Trazy received angel funding from Korean incubator Neowiz, a subsidiary of game company Neowiz Games. Part of the Global K-Pioneers Programme, Trazy has grown respectably in the past year. “Trazy has seen more than 2,200 per cent in visitor growth since the beta launch back in 2013 and 300 per cent growth in 2014 in terms of sales,” according to CMO Kristine Um. “We aim to become the number one online guide for Korea and expand to neighbouring countries, once we make a successful presence in Korea.”
Um adds that Trazy is currently focussing to improve its sales by capitalising on trends. “The recent boom in Korean culture including Hallyu has been accelerating our growth and we expect to grow faster this year,” she says. “We’re also planning to get more funding from great investors who are looking for a partner in the global travel market. We’re hoping to find a great investment partner who can see the same potential in the market that we’re looking at.”
This article has been written in collaboration with Korea Institute of Startup and Entrepreneurship Development (KISED). Interested in taking your startup global? Check out KISED’s Global Smart Korea Programme here!
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