Idea Overview:
Wandr is an online travel platform helping travelers plan trips more efficiently and giving them access to unique experiences at their destination. 7 out of 10 travelers want to discover their destination beyond the common tourist attractions and seek out authentic experiences / activities but: 1) This requires time-consuming research across many channels (travel websites / blogs / social media) 2) Inventory from leading activity OTAs is mostly composed of mainstream and expensive tourist products (bus & walking tours). At Wandr, we do the heavy lifting in terms of research by collecting destination information using AI in-house, curate it and turn it into actionable itineraries for the end-user while also suggesting curated authentic experiences at their destination.
Who might use it/where it might be used?:
Target audience: - Primarily Gen Z and Millenials travelers, who rely heavily on digital sources when planning trips and booking activities - Frequent travelers looking to go off the beaten path and experience their destinations in an authentic, non-touristy way - Travelers who want help efficiently planning activities for their trip, without having to spend a lot of time researching on their own across multiple websites and sources
The Market (B2B, B2C or Both):
Business to Consumers (B2C)
Sector the idea belongs to:
Media and entertainment
Is there a similar idea to be found?:
1) Tripadvisor is currently the most visited travel website worldwide, but is offering listing of places and reviews optimised for conversion (hotel, restaurant, activities, etc.) and does not actively help travelers plan trips and answer key questions such as "I have 2 weeks, which places should I go in that timeframe based on my preferences?", "How long should I stay in each place?" or "How do I go from a place to another?". 2) Travel guidebooks are still the most complete and trusted source of information out there and are the closest from what we want to achieve in terms of quality of content, but they are suffering from the large amount of information available for free on the web 3) AI trip planning apps are currently being developed but remove the process of discovering and learning about a destination that many travelers love. This is an essential part of their journey.
Why you think there is a demand for your idea?:
The experience market is growing rapidly with: 1) the demand being driven by a shift in consumption habits, with younger generations valuing experiences over things and seeking authentic cultural experiences when traveling, and 2) the offer being fuelled by the lagging digitalisation of activity / experience providers (when compared to flights and hotels). Currently, 70% of this c.$250bn industry is still taking place offline. The continuous and recent fundraising announcements by the leading players (Headout, GetYourGuide, Klook, etc.) are another indicator of the growth expectations for the sector in the coming years.
Who would be the ideal customers?:
- 18-35 years old - Travelling frequently, at least 2-3 times per year - Doing initial trip research on major travel websites but being frustrated sifting through thousands of mainstream tours and attractions - Always seeking off the beaten path destination and hidden gems while embarking in unique local experiences - Relying heavily on his/her smartphone when traveling to get around and book on-the-go experiences - Willing to spend money on tours and activities she/he finds value in, but doesn't want to overpay for generic tourist experiences
What ideas do you have to reach these customers?:
- SEO with a focus on niche keywords not challenged by the incumbents in the travel sector - Social media (Facebook groups, Instagram, Pinterest and TikTok) with potential partnership with targeted travel content creators - Travel communities and forums - Integration of social features in next iterations of the product (for example, allowing to easily share itineraries with friends / followers)
How far have you developed this idea?:
We are currently a 2-member team working on actively building a minimal version of the product. We are targeting a soft launch by early September to collect early user's feedback.
What – if any – feedback have you had for this idea so far?:
We have conducted 40+ long form interviews (40min-1hr) with frequent travelers ahead of starting to build the product. The aim was to understand their travel planning habits and identify common trends and pain points: 1) A majority of interviewees spend between few hours and few days planning their trips with a common issue being the time-consuming process of collecting relevant information and then articulating it in an actionable itinerary based on their preference. 2) Most planners enjoy the process of planning their trip because they get to learn about their next destination and build excitement ahead of being there. They just need solutions to help them make it more efficiently rather than solutions creating itineraries for them. 3) Mapping solutions are key to help travelers locate each place, and visualise / build their itinerary. We intend to maintain a close feedback loop with early users once the product is launched to improve and work towards product-market fit.
What supporting material – if any - would you like to add to your proposal?:
We are actively working on a short pitch deck.

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8 comments to “Wandr”

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  1. Simon Krystman - August 2, 2023 at 8:13 am

    Do you have an idea of how much your customers are willing to pay for the service?

    • Benoit Collin - August 2, 2023 at 8:51 am

      Hi Simon,

      The access to the travel information will be free while we intend to take a commission on activities / experiences booked through the platform. The current OTAs are pure marketplaces and do not help the customer to actively plan their trips and discover places. Therefore, they are experiencing high customer acquisition costs because they have to constantly be at the top of Google search results to re-acquire users. With Wandr, the objective is to go up the funnel and be a viable part of the discovery / planning process, which hopefully will translate into higher engagement with the product throughout the entire travel journey and higher chances to convert with activities / experiences bookings.
      Prices for activities vary depending on the nature of the activity, starting from 10-20£ for a simple guided tour to 200-500£ for multi-day or specialised / niche experiences.

    • Benoit Collin - August 15, 2023 at 3:41 pm

      Hey Simon,

      No I was not aware of this project, thank you for sharing! Some platforms are already providing this service, and also allow travel content creators to organise and sell entire group trips for their followers. I like the idea of giving content creators the tools to better monetise their knowledge but I have doubts about the scalability of this kind of business model

  2. Shambaditya Mukherjee - October 2, 2023 at 7:23 am

    The idea is good. Execution would be a challenging part.

    What are your target countries as of now?

    Your thoughts on adding business trips and local event details as a feature?

    • Benoit Collin - October 2, 2023 at 5:09 pm

      Hi Shambaditya,

      Thank you for the comment. Execution is everything and one of the challenging part is to craft a cost-efficient go-to-market strategy that is not solely based on Google / Instagram ads.

      We will be targeting European travelers first because they have more time off to travel than other regions like North America or Asia. And we will be covering the most travelled destinations by Europeans to add value to the highest number of early users first.

      Local events would definitely be a great addition but business trips are a complete different market in my opinion. Your first expectation as a business traveler is for your trip to run as smooth as possible (no flight delays, seamless check-in / out at your hotel and seamless transportation at the destination). While you still prefer your trip to run as smoothly as possible when traveling for leisure, you also want to be inspired and delighted, discover new things, etc. It is a totally different experience and not the target audience for now.

  3. Mario L Castellanos - November 26, 2023 at 7:50 pm

    I have a few questions.
    1. You intend to take a commission on activities / experiences booked through the platform. I assume this require agreements with the activities/experiences offerers. Have you approached these about this? If so, do you have feedback?
    2. Why did you choose that particular name for the company?
    3. How and why did you arrive at your targeted demographic? Did you research all the age demographics?
    4. You conducted 40+ long form interviews. Were they all with your target market?
    5. To reach the user, you’re relying on social media. Is that it, or do you have another method in mind for later?

    • Benoit Collin - November 29, 2023 at 11:54 am

      Hi Mario,

      Thank you for your questions!

      1) Agreements are indeed required with activity operators and we have been in contact with some of them in London. Overall, operators are looking to distribute their offerings online to grow their businesses and they have 2 options:

      a) Build and optimise their website to get traffic + build exposure on social media to grow organically. Sounds good on paper but most operators don’t actually have the time or the resources and just want to focus on what they are doing best, which is running their core business and delight customers with their offering

      b) Distribute their offering through OTAs (GetYourGuide, Viator, Klook, etc.) and benefit from their scale and huge marketing budget against a 20 to 30% commission. The problem is, as the number of offerings gets larger on those marketplaces, the more authentic and unique offerings get hidden in page 3-4 or more on those marketplaces behind the mass tourism offerings which benefit from larger volumes and higher amount of reviews / ratings. As a result, they don’t get the exposure they deserve. On Wandr, we want those authentic offerings to be the highlights on the platform.

      To give you some additional context, only 30% of activity / experience sales worldwide are taking place online. This compares with 80%+ for hotels and flights. Therefore, there are untapped online opportunities as more consumers are willing to book online and more activity operators bring their offering online. We probably won’t reach 80%+ for obvious reasons that are specific to the activity / experience sector but 50-60% online sales is definitely achievable.
      Finally, to better answer your question on agreements with activity operators: operators usually use the services of restech companies such as FareHarbor, Rezdy, Regiondo, etc. which provide online booking systems, payment processing, inventory management, distribution, etc. While you still need agreements with the operators in most cases, integration and booking is getting easier through APIs offered by those intermediaries.

      2) Wandr is short, snappy and easy to remember. The play on the word “wander” also suggests exploration, travel, and adventure. Always happy to receive any other suggestions though!

      3) This product is predominantly aimed at tech-savvy consumers, who go on self-guided trips, and are more on the adventurous / exploration side of travel. Therefore, travelers aged 18-40 years old seem to be the natural target here. Older generations have a higher proportion of people using the services of travel agents or going on pre-packaged trips.

      4) Yes, people travelling at least 2 times a year, aged 25 to 35

      5) We are currently focusing on 3 main channels to grow our user base:

      a) Online travel communities can be a significant source of growth: traditional Facebook groups built around specific destinations, Travel subreddits (r/travel has 8.9m members, r/roadtrip has 2.4m members, r/SoloTravel has 3m members, etc.) or independent communities such as Travel Massive or Wanderful.

      b) Regarding social media, we can obviously produce our own travel content but partnership with targeted content creator will be more important. And by partnership, I don’t just mean sponsored content here and there. I mean having content creators creating content directly on our platform and leveraging their specific knowledge of destinations as well as their audience. Increasingly, content creators are trying to monetise their content and knowledge by creating and selling their own guides of destinations they visited. We are currently thinking of a win-win model in which we would share revenues from activity bookings against their contributions on the platform that would allow us to scale more rapidly.

      c) SEO: Ranking for “Things to do at [X]” is impossible because too competitive but ranking for keywords such as “itinerary”, “hidden gems”, “off-the-beaten-path” is way more achievable. Try searching “Best things to do in London” on Google, you will see Tripadvisor being the first result. Now type “itinerary London” and the incumbents are nowhere to be found, the only competition is independent blogs. We can also use programmatic SEO by using the destination filters on our homepage to generate unique URLs and rank for some valuable long tail keyword phrases

      Do not hesitate if you have additional questions!