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    Date submitted
  • 22-Sep-2018

LOCAL

Abstract

Nobody knows their city better than a local. Locals are the culture of a city and carry a unique perspective of what their city represents. There is an opportunity to share this perspective with travelers visiting the city, but what lacks is a platform that connects these locals to young, 18-34 year old travelers. These travelers are seeking an authentic culturally dense experience that only a local can provide. LOCAL is a mobile application that connects travelers with locals of a city allowing for authentic exploration through locally curated and guided tours. Using the LOCAL application, locals register as guides and post tours of their own creation.The tours created are not limited to a traditional context, meaning that locals can provide tours and experiences that reflect their personal interests, as well as display the character of the city as a whole. Once posted, these tours are available to all travellers on the LOCAL platform. Travelers then browse available tours by city, book the tour that peaks their interest, and then meet up with their local guide. Through connecting travelers with LOCAL, LOCAL works to benefit 3 individual parties, those being the local guide, the traveler, and the respective community. LOCAL offers guides the freedom of choosing their tour price, meaning they can charge $10 or $100, it’s up to them. Additionally, guides have complete creative control over the tours they offer, as well as how and when they work. LOCAL benefits travelers by enhancing their experience through connecting with locals, thereby expanding their cultural understanding, as well as authenticating their visit overall. Lastly, LOCAL encourages exploration through visiting local establishments, thus contributing to the local community’s economic and social value. In terms of alternative touring choices, there are a few competitors within the space, however, unlike companies such as airbnb, getguided, and seekr, who take up to 20% of the guide’s earnings, LOCAL works to empower its users through taking a modest 8%, allowing the guides to profit and flourish off of their self determined wage. With this, LOCAL has massive potential for expansion, not only worldwide, but through the types of experiences offered through the application. Globally, LOCAL is available to anyone, anywhere, there are no limits to where an experience can be shared. Join LOCAL and authenticate your travel experience.

Video

Original YouTube URL: Open

Introduction Video

Additional Questions

Who is your customer?

LOCAL has two types of customers, the local and the traveler. A local can be described as a social person who is at least 18 years old. They are someone who either has an interest they would love to share with others/travelers or someone who is interested in earning extra income by practicing something they enjoy. The traveler is someone who is looking for something new or fun to do and willing to meet a local, someone new, to experience it with whether they travel often or a few times a year. Because they are someone who are willing to meet up with a stranger and engage in an activity, they are between the ages of 18-34. Taking this target age range into consideration, LOCAL’s go-to-market strategy is strongly based on cities that have attracted this age group as a travel destination over the last few years. The cities in which LOCAL is targeting are “off-the-beat” cities in which this demographic is seeking to explore and discover.

What problem does this idea/product solve or what market need does it serve?

People visiting new cities have no idea where to begin their adventure, where they should go, or people they should meet. LOCAL disrupts the tourism market by replacing traditional tour services by establishing a platform in which locals provide visitors with self-created tours inspired by their interests. Travelers use the LOCAL app to filter destination & budget to find a local guide that can show them a unique and personal experience. Visitors enhance their travel experience by spending time viewing popular spots or local secrets with a local of the city. This social "meetup" feature provides 18-34 year olds with a new way to travel. A local will create a tour based on their interests through the app, in which a traveler will have the opportunity to view and book. Travelers input their destination, travel dates, and budget to view hundreds of tour options in their area. Uniquely, locals do not have to have previous guiding experience to become a guide. Therefore, locals and travelers are interchangeable, meaning a traveler has the ability to become a guide in their own city.

What attributes will make this idea/product successful? Why do you believe that those features will create success?

LOCAL’s competitive advantage is that it seeks to bring travelers and locals together to provide a unique experience, available for anyone, anywhere, at any price. As opposed to other companies, LOCAL provides an authentic yet individual experience for travelers to enjoy. In addition to affordability and engagement factors, LOCAL, unlike competitors, does not aggressively vet or require local guides to have previous guiding experience. Furthermore, LOCAL allows the local guides to create tours/experiences as opposed to assigning guides specific predetermined tours. Lastly, LOCAL’s mobile application allows for the service to be available everywhere instantaneously through a user friendly interface.

Explain how you (your team) will execute to make this idea/product successful? What gives you (your team) an advantage over others already in the market or new to this market?

Once the app is created LOCAL will be available globally, anywhere that has an internet connection. LOCAL is functional globally from the start to allow any local who wants to be guide anywhere to do so. However, because LOCAL will be new to the market, advertising and promotion will begin at the following select cities, three cities per year, referred to as launch base cities: Austin, San Antonio, Houston, Denver, New Orleans, Portland, Seattle, San Diego, and Boston. LOCAL will stay an average three to four months preparing in each city, with the last month operating. Within each city, LOCAL will vet, select, and background check fifty guides. Although LOCAL does not require local guides to be background checked and approved, to set a standard and ideal local guide, LOCAL will screen and review the first 50 guides within the launch base cities. This will set the standard and quality of the local guides and inspire any new guides looking to be booked to meet such standards. Prior to launching in each city, LOCAL will prepare a marketing playbook designed for that specific city which includes a list of potential customers and influencers to reach. Advertising and promotion will be done in several ways. The first of which is in-person advertising for both the local guide and the traveler. In-person advertising will include promoting LOCAL within city employment centers, college campuses, and travel-related locations, among others. Social media, such as Youtube, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, will be used to spread discussion and views on LOCAL, posting photos of interesting spots and tagging LOCAL. Influencers within each city will be compensated to use and promote the app. This will help acquire first users, both local guides and travelers. In addition, LOCAL will be physically visible in travel related locations such as hotel lobbies, the airport, travel agencies...etc. LOCAL will also be featured on popular “things to do” travel sites, such as buzzfeed and lonely planet. Because Uber and related ride-sharing companies already have access to a list of registered and screened drivers, LOCAL will advertise not only within those vehicles but also to the drivers themselves. A ride-sharing driver could earn income from both Uber and LOCAL simultaneously by providing their services as an Uber driver as transportation throughout the tour they give. Through the use of in-person advertising, social media, influencers, partnerships, and word of mouth, LOCAL’s brand recognition will grow. In terms of market comparison, LOCAL is essentially operating in a segment within the travel and tourism industry much in the same way that Uber is operating within the transportation industry and Airbnb is operating within the hotel & lodging industry. LOCAL functions on the peer-to-peer sharing economy in which each party has freedom to control how involved they are. There are three main factors that contribute to the differentiation between LOCAL and competitors within this marketplace: price, interactiveness, and guide experience. Unlike traditional tours in which tours are pre-determined by the organization and can be heavily priced, LOCAL allows for the local guide of a city to determine and create the tour in which they will be giving to a traveler. In addition, because the locals determine the tour, they also determine the price which subsequently leads to the determination of their income. LOCAL’s largest competitor, in terms of financial ability and service capability, Airbnb, has created tour “experiences” similar to LOCAL’s format. However, Airbnb’s experiences provide a group exploration rather than an individualistic experience, meaning travelers go with other travelers together on the same tour. This is in contrast to LOCAL, where tours, although they can include multiple people, can be booked by one person or set of friends as opposed to filling available time slots. This approach provides travelers with an individualistic experience of which they choose whom to share it with. In addition, Airbnb, along with other direct competitors take a larger transaction fee then that of LOCAL’s 8%, as much as 20%. This difference is important to local guides that may be a determining factor when they decide which company to sign up for. Additionally, LOCAL will be available globally, wherever there is a local willing to give a tour. Other competitors such as Localeur and Trip Advisor, have the potential to directly compete with LOCAL but currently act as an information source for travelers and are not interactive in the way LOCAL is by having a traveler and a local guide meet, as opposed to a traveler searching destination information online or through a mobile application. Competitors like Seekr and Getguided are functioning in much the same way as LOCAL, in that locals give tours to travelers. However, Seekr is currently limited to Austin and Getguided is limited to top destinations overseas. The main differentiator between LOCAL and these two competitors is that all their guides must apply and get approved before they can begin working. This is an important difference between LOCAL and all other competitors because LOCAL does not screen the guides, making it more accessible to any local who wishes and believes they can provide a visitor with a unique or fun experience. A local must simply sign up, create a tour, and can begin working that very same day.