Advice for reaching novice travelers?

Discussion in 'Travel Technology' started by ericb, Apr 6, 2014.  |  Print Topic

  1. ericb

    ericb Silver Member

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    Hi,

    I'm putting together a startup that offers customized arrival kits for less-experienced travelers (think study abroad or first int'l business trip). I plan to offer local currency, Mi-Fi rentals (SIM cards once I get enough scale to order them in bulk) and local transit cards like Oyster, Octopus etc. Here's the beta site: www.AttacheArrivals.com

    Obviously, you all know cheaper ways to procure all of these services, but think about relatives and coworkers who don't do this for a hobby, who's never been to say Paris. I've been getting a lot of positive feedback that this is something that type of traveler would buy, because it drastically reduces the hassle of running errands before and during your trip.

    Do you have any constructive advice on language that would appeal to this group? I'm also looking for ways to reduce the perceived cost (roughly half of the kit's price is "in kind value" in a foreign currency or preloaded value on a transit pass).

    Lastly, if anyone is interested in testing these kits out, I'm happy to offer each of the components at cost and waive the $50 service fee. Really, the feedback is far more important to me than sales at this point.

    Just to reiterate, I know this isn't the demographic likely to be excited about this sort of thing (you all know how to do it for cheaper and are willing to put in the legwork) but thought I'd ping for input and ideas, since there is a wealth of knowledge (and people are generally more altruistic/helpful than TOBB) :)

    Eric
     
    iolaire, gregm, traveltoomuch and 2 others like this.
  2. traveltoomuch

    traveltoomuch Silver Member

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    Perhaps start with a lower base price and have these expensive bits be add-ons? I keep wanting to see a pricing structure and user interface similar to that offered by Dell or Apple: here's the base price for your bundle, and then you can add and subtract features. Both of those merchants clearly show the cost of each change, while your site leaves it to the customer to compute the difference (example: Berlin transit cards - you don't explicitly say "+$10 for 5 days v. 3 days"). If you start with the transit card and currency turned off, that's a cheaper baseline.

    I also wish you provided 1) guidance and 2) more choice. Guidance example: are the Berlin transit cards "X calendar days" or "X 24-hour periods"? Which do you advise and why? Do any of the options cover transit to/from airport or not? And choice: why not offer longer transit card packs? Similarly, is the MiFi usage in calendar days or 24-hour periods? And more choice: how about allowing no cash (hey, some people want to stick with cards) or far more cash (up to regulatory limits)? And you could offer advice on cash, too: is this destination a cash-centric one, or are cards widely accepted?

    How about selling multiple transit cards and museum passes? Two or more traveling together may be able to share a MiFi and a stash of cash, but they need separate transit cards.

    In general, I'm not sure bundle pricing is the right approach here, since pretty much everything you're selling is available separately without huge pain. I'm sure there's some wisdom re: bundle pricing in classic microeconomics, too. My temptation would be to offer bundles but be willing to remove pretty much everything and, in essence, sell ala carte. As it is, someone who has any one of these bases covered (e.g. doesn't want a MiFi, or plans to avoid transit and use cabs) is likely to find the bundle unattractive.

    Lastly: the city photos look very similar. Can you find more distinctive photos for each?
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2014
    gregm likes this.
  3. traveltoomuch

    traveltoomuch Silver Member

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    As a business traveler, I'm wondering how I would expense your service. Or how to sell the service to companies, in general.

    Your base bundle has some components which I routinely expense (internet service and transit cards), and another which I am not allowed to directly expense (the cash). And... the bundle pricing embeds some service fees that I might be allowed to expense if they were called out as separate line items (currency exchange fees/commissions).
     
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  4. ericb

    ericb Silver Member

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    Wow, this is absolutely fantastic!

    First, thank you!

    Second: You bring up a lot of points that I've come across too, I actually wanted to model the shopping process very close to what Apple does, but I keep coming up against limitations in the E-Commerce platforms I'm using, first Shopify, then BigCommerce and now thinking of switching to Squarespace. Yes, I absolutely want to make it clear how much each component is and that each is optional. Great point on the cash flexibility and whether the destination is more cash centric or not. :)

    Yes, multiple cards is also a limitation of bundles on the ecommerce platforms above. Strongly considering a custom website but wanted to get to a minimally-viable product quickly

    With bundling, yep these are all available, but I'm not sure if you and I experience the same amount of pain roaming an airport for an ATM or figuring out a SIM card for an unlocked phone. Part of the value is bundling the research needed and presenting it in a concise, easy to read package that streamlines everything for a less-experienced traveler. I still see people exchanging money at hotels with errily high frequency :(

    In some ways, as a former business traveler myself, I think the expensing as one receipt vs multiple has some value. Good call on "expensible vs not expensible line items" will definitely add in (assuming the platform allows - seeing a trend here?)

    Thanks again for the extremely useful input!

    Eric
     
  5. iolaire
    Original Member

    iolaire Gold Member

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    My gut feeling on this is to be successful you will need to have others selling your product, I.e. the travel agents booking trips for those people.
     
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  6. ericb

    ericb Silver Member

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    Yep, totally important to scaling effectively. I've been reaching out to university overseas coordinators and conference organizers. Eventually, I'd love to get boutique and luxury travel agencies like Virtuoso on board.
     

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