Moneycontrol
Apr 10, 2017 11:03 AM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

1001 Startup Ideas - AI enabled travel guide

The 1001 startup idea this week is about creating an AI enabled travel assistance application, which the tourists can use at their convenience without the hassle of going through a travel guide.

1001 Startup Ideas - AI enabled travel guide

What is the startup Idea?

The 1001 startup idea this week is about creating an AI enabled travel assistance application, which the tourists can use at their convenience without the hassle of going through a travel guide.

Market Size

Owing to its cost effectiveness and varied cultures and natural beauty, Asia has always been one of the favoured destinations among the tourists.

According to a report from UNWTO/GTERC Asian Tourism Trends 2016, 279 million tourists preferred APAC as their destination in 2015 making it second most visited region in the world with nearly one-fourth of tourists globally visiting it. By growing at 5% a year, APAC continues to consolidate its position as one of the fastest growing regions in the world and It is expected that Asia's share of global tourism will increase to 30% by 2030.

AI enables virtual assistance market is expected to reach $12.28 billion by 2024 according to a report by Grand View Research. Change in market demand for self-service and faster response time for resolving issues is considered to be the primary reason for the growth of this segment.

Competitor Analysis

AI enabled Chatbots have already made their way into our day to day lives, and most of the travel management & booking websites are using it for providing real time and seamless experience to their users.  30secondstofly founded in 2015 from US and Pana founded in 2015 from Colorado are some of the new players that have entered the segment.

Pain Point & Target Audience

The target audience for this startup would be travellers who travel on the go or draw up their itinerary without the support from any travel agent. These users struggle with the local information while making their travel plans and end up spending hours on google to get their plans right. Or they often fall prey to travel agents and local guides who tend to provide irrelevant and overpriced suggestions to make quick money.

Value Proposition

The application will help the target users to plan their itinerary on the go with an AI enabled interactive application. The application will not only have the functionality to parse the free written queries but will also have the ability to recognise voice commands.

This will help the users to seamlessly interact with the application as if he/she is getting support from a real life tour management company or a tour guide. This application will provide end to end assistance starting from planning the trip, booking travel tickets to the last mile interactive guided tours.

Business Model

The startup should first build an AI enabled system, which is linked with the travel logistics and planning websites and companies. It should have the ability to parse the free text query and should have the functionality of voice recognition for the better user experience. The application should also link to the local tourism authority websites and knowledge bank for providing guided tour for the destination.

The startup should make its application free to download so that it can acquire a substantially large customer base.  The business will earn revenue from in-app purchases for AI guided tours. In addition to this, the startup can and should also charge referral fees from the travel agents and other service providers on the platform, for any successful purchases through the application.

Way to Market

The first step would be to make a seamless application, and then second would be to tie-up with flight booking companies and local travel authorities for last mile information for guided tours.

Once the startup has collaborated with flight booking companies and authorities/ institutional bodies/ tourism promotion boards handling popular travel destinations, it should focus on marketing the application and getting beta users on the platform to start testing its usability.

The Asian tourism market is largely unorganised, and it would be an excellent opportunity for the startup to start from countries, like Thailand, Vietnam or Malaysia, and then further expand to other Asian countries.

Milestones

The startup should target to map top tourist destinations for an Asian country and collaborate with two to three flight booking companies in first six months of launch. And then it should focus on marketing and target to reach 20k users in next six months.

Investment needed for prototype

For testing and building the application, the startup should look to raise $100 k from AI or Travel related incubators or accelerators like Zeroth.ai or Travel Startups Incubator. The company should keep its initial expense within limits and spend most of the money on application development and initial user acquisition.

Team Capability

The startup should have a full stack developer and a Machine Learning expert on their founding team. It’s always handy to have a growth hacker, to lead your marketing campaigns for driving partners and user acquisition.

Investors / Experts Take

The presence of intelligent virtual agents on the websites has helped several companies increase their conversion rates and highly contribute towards better customer service and conflict resolution. In 2016 alone, we have seen more than 450 investment deals in AI enabled startups with total funding amounting to be more than $1.8 billion. In case you are looking at scaling or launching this venture, you can apply for our virtual acceleration program Excelrate on the Yostartups website; it will help you in streamlining and structuring your startup idea. We have limited scholarships and discount packs for deserving startups, depending on the strength of your application, you may qualify for a discount.
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