16 July, 2019

STARTUP STAGE: Tryps.Tech is digitizing tour and activity distribution for the Middle East

Tryps.Tech is an B2B distributor of more than 14,000 tours, activities, attraction tickets, airport lounge access, events and transfers in 130 countries. Its system offers real-time availability and instant booking.

The company is focused on serving customers in the Middle East with content available in Arabic, as well as other languages.

Q.Describe both the business and technology aspects of your start‐up?

Tryps.Tech is the first online distributor of tours and activities in the Middle East and the first worldwide to offer Arabic language, apart from many other languages, for sure. Our team makes direct contracts with hundreds of offline and online suppliers worldwide and connects them to online travel agencies, airlines, hotels and travel agencies.

We don’t only contract products, but we are working on the product content, negotiating best pricing and conditions; then, we provide to our partner ready‐ for‐sale products, meaning they don’t need to do anything on the content side except some SEO tactics.

All this can’t happen without our built-in-house technology. Our tech team has spent a whole year building a very strong modern cloud-based platform; with our technology, we provide three solutions to our partners, based on their needs: API Integration to empower OTAs and airlines; B2B agent marketplace for travel agencies and white‐label marketplace for hotels and small travel agencies with only payment solution incorporated.

Q.What inspired you to create this company?

We have been working for many years in the field of travel and tourism.

We noticed how the gap in offering in‐destination services to travelers and partners in the Middle East and Africa is getting bigger and bigger still compared to the case in Europe, Latin America or Asia, with lack of content and properly localized content.

For this gap in offering the proper services and this lack of a properly localized content, we have decided to tackle this problem by converting our start‐up into a bridge, shifting many offline suppliers to online businesses, contracting many interesting things to do, building a huge portfolio of products fully localized in Arabic language along with other languages, offering accessible and easy solutions to our partners.

Q.Give us your SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis of the company.Strengths
Team - Our top strength points are in our team experience and its long track record working across many international companies in e‐commerce, technology development and finance.
Tech - Our cutting edge, built-in‐house technology solutions that fits for all company sizes and offers multiple business solutions with very user‐friendly features and options.
Product - While working on building our technology, we started at the same time building our large portfolio of directly contracted in‐destination services fully localized into many languages, specially the Arabic language.

All OTAs, airlines, hotels and offline agencies would like to sell in‐destinations services, but their response sometimes could be slower compared to what the end user needs and demands.

The boom of online hotel and flight booking in the past has helped to shape the client’s awareness and perception of what travel booking should be; nowadays, clients have become very tech and travel savvy, they create trends and demand their brand to provide them with these new services of online bookings for tours and activities, with instant booking confirmation the same way as they used to do with hotel or flight bookings.

The Middle East outbound market is estimated to be $94 billion in 2020, and it keeps growing.

Our products are very compatible with flight and hotel bookings. People are traveling not to stay on a flight for four hours or confined among four walls at the hotel - people travel because they want to experience the destination they go to and this is exactly what we are offering to our partners and their end‐users.

Being the largest distributor for the in‐destination in the Middle East and Africa, along with our large and wide contract number of products, we have over 14,000 ready-for-sale products, from tours, activities, attraction tickets, transfers and airport lounges.

For any small business or start‐up, it has been always hard, at the beginning, to build up the adequate awareness; however, it is a matter of time. The real threat lies in the slow movement of the market adoption of certain segments such as airlines.

Q.What are the travel pain points you are trying to alleviate from both the customer and the industry perspective

For decades, travel has been about only flight and hotel booking, but everyone nowadays believes hotel and flight are part of the trip, but 60% of the travel experience is built around the destination and what travelers have seen and done there.

We always want to be the link that connects offline suppliers to online resellers, empowering our distribution partners with handpicked activities that their clients are looking for.

The Arabic travel content has always been very poor; we want to build a unique, easy and engaging travel content localized in a proper way to help travelers understand more about their next trip or tour. Good content could increase the booking conversion and our content teams have a mission of crafting ready-for-sale products and content.

Q.So you've got the product; now, how will you get many customers?

The way we have built our products and solutions made it easy and appealing to travel industry players to become partners with us. We have developed solutions that fit perfectly well to every company profile, size and market.

They need the product and we have it for free; it’s a matter of connecting with the right person. The funny thing is that we now moved from knocking on potential partner’s doors to being earnestly approached by large enterprises and travel corporations to partner with us.

Tell us what process you've gone through to establish a genuine need for your company and the size of the addressable market.

We have been through many detailed market analyses and research in order to understand the market needs and the market size. We see big opportunities in the Middle East. There are more than 10,000 hotels, 180 OTAs, 75 airlines, 9,000 tour operators and over 20,000 offline travel agencies.

With 410 million population of the Middle East in 2018, the tourism industry is estimated to reach $350 billion by 2020. Travel spend by travelers from the Gulf Cooperation Council only is likely to grow to $94 billion by 2020. In 2025 the sum could reach $140 billion.

Q.How and when will you make money?

Our business model is very easy. Integrating with us is free; we only get commission on every booking. We don’t have any hidden fees or integration fees.

What are the backgrounds and previous achievements of the founding team, and why do you have what it takes to succeed in this business?

Our founders background is purely in travel and tourism, e‐commerce and technology; they are passionate about the harmony between tech and travel, working across many international corporations, tour operations and OTAs in the Middle East, Europe and Southeast Asia.

That is why our founding team are integrating one another and helping the business to grow.

Q.What's been the most difficult part of founding the business so far?

It has been always the main topics when founding start‐ups - finding the right talent and signing the first contract is the hardest steps.

Finding a qualified talent that has knowledge of e‐commerce, travel and in‐destinations services is not that easy to find, that’s why at Tryps.Tech we are always working on preparing, training and passing experience from one another in order to spread the knowledge and increase the team compatibility.

Q.Generally, travel startups face a fairly tough time making an impact ‐ so why are you going to be one of the lucky ones?

Our business model partner is friendly, for free with no hidden costs. All in all, our solutions are scalable. We have built our company internally around how to help our partners to sell and increase their booking volume.

As experts in the in‐destination service, we frequently share with them market research, reports and trends that they should learn about in order to grow their business volume. We consider our company as an extension to our partners, it’s a win‐win deal!

Q.Is it easy to raise funds in the Middle East?

No, not at all. What we hear and see in the news is somehow way far from the reality. It is really hard to access the circle of investors in the Middle East. Even if you do, they are more into B2C food deliveries business and more into e-commerce start-ups.

One of the most famous entrepreneurs in the region told me onc, investors in the region would invest 100 times in a company doing the same thing as Uber and Careem before investing in something new.

If you look at the amount raised in travel compared to any other segment in the region, you will find it very small.

Not talking about the very long process that it would take to close a funding round or how unreachable the investors are, all these factors are decreasing opportunities for many startups to raise money in travel from the Middle East.

That's why we have decided not to waste more time or efforts running after investors and decided to bootstrap Tryps.Tech.

We may not be moving as fast as we wish, but at least we are in the good direction since we own 100% of the company.