3 Gurus advices TravelTech startups on sustainable business practices

The abundance of Thailand’s natural resources and the people’s hospitality and friendliness are considered the magnet that attract tourists to visit Thailand during the past several decades. However, in the future, the tourism growth and development may not go as fast if there is no new generation people to drive the future development.

This is the reason why the Tourism Authority of Thailand has organized ‘TAT Startups’ project and invite TravelTech startups to join together to get advice from gurus in the travel industry.

Yutasak Supasorn, the TAT’s Governor, said TravelTech startup should know first three things before starting the tourism businesses.

First, who are the customers and what do they like? For example, Chinese tourists may like good products at cheap price but willing to pay more later while western customers need expense details first before they pay and will get upset if they have to pay more later. They might think they are being cheated.

Second, they need to have clear goal on how to create services that people want to use. Though Thailand currently has more than 35 million tourists but we cannot sell our products to everybody at a time. The market has its own season. Understanding this nature of business will help startups to grow better.

Last, they must be honest to customers to make the business sustain.

Not only customers that startups should pay attention, but also investors.

Nichapat Arch, screening committee of Bangkok Venture Club, gives her advice to TravelTech on how to prepare themselves to get investors’ support.

  1. Working team -Global investors would consider the working teams first before they choose to invest with the startups because they will have to work together for 4-5 years.
  2. Pain point – Investors would consider whether the solutions for correct pain point could be scale up or expand to other countries or not or it’s the problem for Thailand only.
  3. Solution – does it fit the actual the problem?
  4. Technology – how is it adopted to expand the businesses.
  5. Application – is it something that people can live without like Grab or Airbnb
  6. Expertise, interest, investors’ network whether they are relevant with the startups or not.
  7. Global expansion – do startups have to idea to expand business globally. (If they do, the ideas should be conceptualized and presented from the beginning)

Ms. Nichapat viewed that fund raising is not everything for startups. There’ll be a lot of changes after that. For example, investors will come to join the work and more rules will come up. It will not be convenient as it used to be.

Another advice is from Mr. Chitphol Mungprom, CEO and founder of Zanroo MarTech startup. He said the challenges for startups is people. The success of startups comes from good team. He said there are four levels of building working team for startups.

They include: a one-man show which startup has to do everything on its own even delivering documents to customers; 2) an emergency player when startup needs to hire somebody to work instead but the problem is that thier work may not meet expectation; 3) culture planning which they will face another difficulty as they have to mix people from various generation to work together and also have to manage thier expectations at the same time. For example, GenX people may need health insurance, while GenY need working flexibility and long annual leaves. This is the time when founders become executives who have to give directions to the organization.

Mr. Chitphol also said that the challenges for startup is that the dream day and the reality is different. When they have to present the ideas to investors, no matter how good the idea is, it’s still just a dream. The truth is when the team is involved, there will be conflicts, money matter, people, financial management, budget planning and so on. These are the things that they have to plan and get prepared to cope with.

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