Daniel Clark, co-founder of Townske, said the idea for the platform came when he and co-founder Joe Vuong were in New York on business. Like many desperate Australians overseas, they were searching for good coffee and failing, often ending up in a chain café.
“We were going so often that one of the baristas noticed us on the street one day and started up a conversation with us. If that was happening, we were going there way too much and things had to change! So we went on a mission to find the best coffee spots all over the city,” Clark said.
He said that while they did end up discovering good cafés, the apps they were using were too complex and time consuming to use, with their recommendations hit and miss.
“Finding amazing cafes really enriched our NYC experience and our trip was so much better as a result. When we knew where to go, it felt more like we were locals. The existing solutions that we tried to use just didn’t do what we needed, so we started to design the platform we wanted to use.”
Essentially bringing travel bloggers together on one platform, Townske has thousands of users on board. These range from travel and city event bloggers and Instagrammers. Before launch, these users were hand-picked by the Townske team to ensure the quality of guides on the platform was high.
The guides already on the platform range from an exploration of dessert houses in Jakarta to a guide of Toronto through the lens of an urban planner.
As well as insider tidbits, the guides are underpinned by beautiful photography. Each also includes a map showing all the locations highlighted in the guide, helping travellers map their exploring.
Townske will face a lot of competition from both other startups and established names in the travel space; publications like Lonely Planet are trying to incorporate more local guides, while apps like Wunderwalk are also looking to help travellers find the road less travelled. TripAdvisor could also create competition.
However, Clark said, “Competing products didn’t meet our needs for getting to know a city so we’re building the product that we’d want to use ourselves. We found that the problem with review sites was that you didn’t know who was giving the review and an opinion is only relevant if you trust the person who is giving it. This is one of the key problems that Townske is going to solve and one of our differentiators.”
In setting up the marketing materials for Townske, the founders went with design platform Moo.com.
“MOO made it effortless to set up a new team member with business cards that catch people’s attention,” said Clark.
“When our team members hand our their cards everyone loves them and comments on the unique photo that’s on that back of each and every card. More established companies usually have rather plain cards and i’m pretty sure most people have card envy when they get ours. When we need branded printed material like letterheads and postcards, we can handle this in a few minutes at a very low cost. This means we have more time to focus on our core business, that’s essential for smaller teams. We’d never change, it’s just too easy.”
Right now, Townske which is still very much a new startup is focused on executing well to make its mark on the TravelTech sector.
“We know people want this problem fixed and that they like our solution, but we don’t know if we’ll be successful” says Clark. “We’re more likely to be successful for a number of reasons, but we just have to see if we execute correctly. It’s all about execution”.
Featured image: The Townske Team | Source: Supplied.