Touristlink.com has been designed as a social platform where as the official website states, “you can meet fellow travelers, share information, suggest new attractions and create lists of your favorite destinations to share with friends.”
In conversation with David Urmann, the CEO and Cofounder of Touristlink.com
What is your idea and vision?
We are creating the first social network that aims to connect travelers with each other and with travel providers within the context of an information rich environment. We want to make it easy to ask questions and get advice from locals be it business owners or fellow travelers. We provide a wealth of information with a focus on pictures. We let visitors rank attractions so that as membership increases this will be an incredible value add on users will be able to sort attractions based on interest or demographic. For instance Touristlink members will be able to see how members who surf rank beaches in Bali, how birdwatchers rank wildlife sanctuaries in India or even which restaurants women prefer in Paris.
What is your start-up story? How did you start? Where did you get funding from?
We founded the company in Nagpur (India) in 2006 and we have grown the company from just 3 to 50 + today. Our core management team has been together since day 1 and we have worked exclusively in the travel domain for past 4 years and have previously launched several successful websites including hotelkhoj.com and travelaffiliatepro.com. Touristlink is our first website that we are treating like a startup and is also the first time everyone in the office is dedicated to the success of just one project (this focus has everyone in the office really excited).
How do you identify your target market? What is your revenue earning plan or model?
Our target demographic is young, adventurous, budget conscious professional in Southeast Asia – many of whom live in one of Asia rapidly growing mega cities. We want to provide affordable travel solutions for this demographic and one way to do so that fits well within the context of a social network is to set up group packages with fixed departure dates modeled like group buy sites so that a number of members must commit before the deal is on.
How do you engage with your audience?
Members will be able to see who is going on a trip and interact with them as well as a trip representative. We will be launching this portion of our website in late March 2012. Currently the social side of our website is online and its getting a lot of new members both from word of mouth, media coverage and search traffic.
How do you define the importance of your team in your startup?
I am the Founder and CEO of Salt Lake SMS India Pvt. Ltd. an outsourcing and web development firm which he started in 2005 and which now employs over 70 IT professionals. An avid traveler and a guide book writer I decided to launch Touristlink.com which aims to bring travelers together with each other and with local businesses and tourism offices on the same destination oriented social platform. Jayesh Bagde(COO & Co-Founder) – Mr. Bagde comes from an advertising background & he has 9+ years of experience in advertising agencies & IT. He oversees the Indian operations of the company & is responsible for Travel Business Development in India. More info on each team member is here: Team Tourislink
Do you have anything to share from your startup briefcase?
Its always exciting and a lot of emotional ups and downs through which one has to stay balanced and focus on the end result. Its great to see the favorable mentions in the press and signup new partners. On the otherhand we test out a lot of ideas to see what works and the continuous revisions probably gets frustrating even if everybody sees the gradual improvement.
Any new releases or coming up?
We will be launching our first group deals on our social platform this March. These will include group deals to Thailand and Nepal.
Last but not the least how do you feel your start-up is adding value to the eco-system?
We have been involved in a number of events including Seedcamp in Barcelona, Ecell in Mumbai and StartupMonthly in San Francisco. Attending these events and following up with others in the community had been a great resource for us and the feedback we have received is in large part responsible for the evolution of our business model. Our team stays active in the startup community in India and the Bay Area and we love to get any opportunity to join the conversation.