DGROOPS 4 GUIDES
To restart Group Travel sector by creating a one-stop-shop for all the B2B stakeholders of Group Travel Bookings, enabling them DIRECT negotiations and total control over their rates and availability, new sustainable business model and global outreach.
As this is big project during this TravelScrum Hackathon we will build a prototype for DGROOPS 4 GUIDES part.
We were inspired by all the stress and time that is needed to create only 1 travel group: exchange over 780 mails, hundreds of phone calls, forgotten deadlines of payments, no adequate channel to search for suppliers in different countries etc.
Groups are managed maximum in Excel spreadsheets by Travel Agents or back offices that are not integrated with other suppliers, whilst Travel Guides do bookings and manage them with pencil and paper and via emails & messengers. They do need innovation.
With COVID crisis Travel Guides were affected the most, they were left unemployed, without any tool to find new partners. Many of them are not allowed to accept groups in their destinations. They do not have a channel to promote themselves to potential new partners (Travel Companies). Before they used guide associations, social media groups (mostly local) & word of mouth, which is now definitely not enough! They need to get access to wider network, better international one.
We address 2 out of 3 challenges:
Travel & Experiences:
DGROOPS project has potential of positively transforming the Group Travel industry, which used to be $192 bln annually. It digitalises the whole workflow from searching for partners to communicating & managing all the information.
To Travel Guides it gives operational efficiency, with possibility of searching for new groups, planning their bookings and sharing all the relevant information with other stakeholders. It gives possibility to decrease unemployment after the crises.
Sustainability & Relief:
DGROOPS is offering new, sustainable Business models, that are now searched for: there is a strong trend from moving to direct bookings to increase the margins, need to quickly shift to different destinations. The goal is to make DGROOPS a daily used tool, which creates safe environment (through verification and reviews), it has a fair pricing (1% of commission for hotels, which allows to keep the prices at net level, small annual fee for Travel Companies and no commissions so they do not bypass this tool and for Travel Guides the post COVID year we offer for free, then we will introduce small annual fee).
DGROOPS 4 GUIDES , the first worldwide B2B platform that enables DIRECT collaboration between trusted Travel Companies and Guides.
What it does
DGROOPS project is a B2B software and marketplace that connects all suppliers for group travel (Hotels, Transport Companies, Travel Guides, Insurance Companies) and buyers (Travel Companies) to cooperate directly without intermediators and more efficiently.
DGROOPS 4 GROUPS: gives new channel for Travel Guides to find new jobs and gives a tool to efficiently manage their travel groups inside and get bookings even being offline.
EVERY USER when registering is waiting for DGROOPS validation (of the data provided, licenses etc.), when approved (which takes 2-3 days) he/she enters the platform, creates personal profile with relevant data, updates availability calendar and can immediately connect with all the suppliers inside the platform. Travel Companies search for Travel Guides filtering by destination, languages spoken, availability and of course, the feedback received. Travel Guides get booked even being offline, do not need to recheck their availability, loose time and potential bookings… When getting a group, Travel Guides have access to all relevant information, updated instantly (rooming lists, itinerary, special requests etc.).
How we built it
We used HTML and marvelapp.
Challenges I ran into
We are non tech team, with 0 IT skills, we met IT part of our team here and they were not able to communicate well due to language barrier and we lost one team member, whilst other could not deliver and communicate with us, we have found a senior backend developer, but the frontend and design was mainly needed, so he struggled to deliver.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
- Our client's feedback, we did customer interviews to validate the idea. Being more than 15 years in the industry we have a broad network of targeted contacts.
- Rapid prototyping of frontend by a strict backend developer
What I learned
Finding a right partner on every stage of the project is crucial. It is impossible to build a tech product just with the industry knowledge, at least one member with IT expertise should should be in the core team. You need find IT members before joining events if you want to be sure you will get a result.
What's next for DGROOPS healing solution for Group Travel
For DGROOPS to find a partner from the industry that can help to scale up and “open doors”
For DGROOPS 4 GUIDES:MVP testing with real users, we will start with Italian market, as we have our personal networks there and it is effected the most. We already talked to GTI (Guide Turistiche Italiane) to agree on a pilot.
We will get their feedback (through customer interviews, monitoring the user’s behaviour), based on it doing iterations and building the commercial version of the platform, In the meanwhile, start spreading the word by contacting guide's associations, our personal networks and ultimately getting traction.