T Minus 10: Sally's Challenge - Luxe HK in 5 Days

Enter Sally's HK Challenge Here: www.guidrr.com/the-challenge

Enter Sally's HK Challenge Here: www.guidrr.com/the-challenge

One of our own, Guidrr advisor and world traveler Sally, asked Guidrr to invite our global creator community to help her plan her first visit to Hong Kong. 

Seeking inspiration for her 5 day itinerary from those in the know happened after Sally first spent time online watching vidoes on YouTube, reading content on the Web, but still felt she didn't have the flow of her first visit quite planned out.

"I had lots of information and really wanted a bespoke guide and a true experience," she says. "Once I saw Jitin and Patrick's guide to 24 hours in Mumbai on the Guidrr app, I thought to myself .. I want something like that, for 5 days in HK!"

Today, we're so pleased to be releasing #SallysChallenge to the HK influencer community and inviting locals to create experiences on our platform. It's no small stakes: the winner will get $500! And, there's prizes for a few runners up, too. 

To learn more about #SallysChallenge and to enter, click here. The ten day countdown for submission has begun! 

Here's to #NewTravel and experiencing our world peer to peer! 

ps: If you're new to knowing about Guidrr, learn more about being a creator here

Millennial Mai-Lyn Is A Winner: Live Like a Local

Guidrr helped its partner, Downtown Dallas, Inc. (DDI), connect with locals in the city, inviting them to create and submit #mydtd or downtown Dallas experiences on the app as part of their Live Like a Local initiative. 

Today, we share the news of another of the winners of the Live Like a Local contest, Mai Lyn Ngo (Instgram: @deepfriedfit), who combines a love of fitness and food in her own downtown journey. Here's the in-depth post about her story and passion for the city we created for the DDI Web site.

Thanks for being a Guidrr creator, Mai Lyn. Click here download Mai Lyn's guide on the Guidrr ioS app. 

Meet Karen - The First Announced Winner of Live Like a Local!

We're so excited to share the news that Instagrammer @Karen.Lao was one of the winners of the Live Like a Local contest we ran for our partners, Downtown Dallas, Inc. They asked us to help them find more authentic downtown stories and journeys, created by locals. 

A coder by day, with a popular Instagram account as a side pursuit featuring her photography, Karen's entry inspired the team, and so did her authentic local story. Read more about her on the Downtown Dallas, Inc. blog.

Get instagramming around downtown Dallas with her photo guide, available here on the Guidrr app. 

#WITS16 A Wrap! And It Was a Blast

Though we are a small team, we do travel far at Guidrr -- using the passion of our own creator community to grow our presence in the industry and introduce our monetization and engagement solution. We sent Guidrr Creator @aimeebentson - author of popular on-demand experiences on our app like her Fountainbleu experience, to rep Guidrr at the #WITS16 Summit by @She'sWanderful in Irvine, California. A single mom who loves to travel and owns a platform for women creatives, Avyn Apparel, Aimee went to #WITS16 to challenge women bloggers to create more solo travel experiences, so others could walk the world in their shoes. 

@AimeeBentson and new friends at #WITS16 enjoying some photo booth fun! 

@AimeeBentson and new friends at #WITS16 enjoying some photo booth fun! 

While Aimee was at WITS, she shared her own personal Guidrr story with many of her fellow attendees, who shared her interest in monetizing their travel writing, and in creating more opportunities to combine their love of travel with work in the industry. Thanks to all the awesome women who shared their name with Aimee and our team to be contacted and welcomed into our creator community! You will be welcomed in this coming week. 

A special thanks to some of those we welcomed today - pictured below and also on our Instagram for @Guidrr. They include Susie, Vicki, April, Sheila Stone, Melissa. So many more will be welcomed shortly! Thanks also to @She'sWanderful for putting on a great event. Kudos to the whole team. Remember that blog we wrote about why we were going to WITS? We loved being a startup sponsor and we'll be back next year in Milwaukee, for sure! Aimee put it perfectly when she got back. Here's what she said: 

WITS was a unique and memorable experience, incredibly valuable for connecting with other women as passionate about travel as I am
— @AimeeBentson, Guidrr Creator

If you're a travel writer or blogger who wants to use our app as a channel to create mobile, self-guiding travel experiences for your follower audience, and receive sponsorship and/or sales for your original experiences, get started today or get in touch! We'd love to support you. 

The Creator Challenge!

We're so pleased to share that we're partnering with real creators around the world to launch Guidrr Contests, a new way to inspire more experiences created by real people. 

So much of how we travel and experience the world today is driven by big data - and while we appreciate the insights & information that's available in aggregate, it's often far from what we really seek when we do travel. Instead, we want to travel as if with a friend, to walk the world as if in their shoes. And, we want to have the kind of experiences we want to have, focused on the things we care about. No two journeys are alike. 

We're inspired by each of the Guidrr creators who's helping to launch a Guidrr contest - and can't wait to share how city and travel brands also will participate in this people-led journey to transform travel and local experiences. 

Have you met some of the creators inspiring contests today? 

Next week, we'll feature more on the Guidrr contests format, and share more creator-led challenges. Winners receive special prizes, recognition and the chance to have contest sponsored by brand partners. So - get creating at our platform. All you need is an Instagram handle to begin experimenting with the Guidrr format. 

To see how selected experiences look inside our app, take a peek here

See you at #WITS16! Guidrr Sponsors Women Creators Event in California

Guidrr's team has been following the journey of She's Wanderful, a blog site founded by Beth Santos, who we think is a woman business owner to know in the peer influencer travel space.

Every year, Beth and her team gather bloggers for WITS (Women in Travel Summit) and this year, we're not just watching - but also a startup sponsor of the event taking place in Irvine, California

There's about 5 good reasons we really like WITS - and why we chose to invest in being a part of this amazing event despite it stretching our startup wallet. It's for some of the same reasons we work so hard to support women creators on the Guidrr app. We appreciate and support content creators who put themselves out there to produce beautiful, personal, original views of how to travel and experience our whole wide world. 

So here's our five reasons WITS is so awesome - wouldn't you agree? 

1. WITS is authentic. WITS is female-founded, female-run and oh-so-honest. Did we mention it's so down to earth that women will post on the WITS forum to find room mates and driving buddies to make it down for the event? 

2. WITS creates community. We love it when travel brands treat people like the real assets not just a side thought. Just like Guidrr is all about creators, so is the WITS team and process. They really stand by their efforts to build a support a true community of like-minded writers, producers, photographers and more. 

3. WITS attendees are a little travel obsessed. Not everyone sighs with happiness at the sight of a plane ticket like they do a new pair of shoes. Only one travel-obsessed person knows another. We know you'll find us and chat with us about your latest news and destination tips - we're waiting!  (Look for @AimeeBentson - our representative, and a creator on the Guidrr app). 

4. WITS gives creative women a platform and tools for success. Check out the event speaker list. It's full of women training other women on how to be better travel influencers and business owners. We can't wait to connect with, and learn from solo travel, women experts around the world. We're all in! Looking forward to hearing from Sherry of @Ottsworld and Brooke of @TheYogaTree and so many more authentic, inspirational women in travel from around the world. 

5. WITS, like Guidrr, considers travel content creators a key part the future of the industry. Peer creators are rising in importance for travel brands. Do you know that just 3% of consumers trust traditional destination advertising? And 70% of millennial travelers don't use anything other than peer sources to find inspiration for their trips? At Guidrr we're on a monetization mission to help the awesome bloggers at WITS - and other bloggers around the world, earn directly from their authentic knowledge and trip inspiration. 

See you in Irvine! #WITS16 is where many of the most authentic women travel influencers are gathering - and we're happy to be along for the ride, to meet them and learn from them. 

Look out for Aimee - and here's to #NewTravel! (ps: check out our app here) You can also request to join our creator platform here


Our Meetup Travel Hacks & New Creators

The Guidrr team is busy prepping for its full launch Feb 4, 2016  - you heard it here first!

But as we're checking things off our launch list (including prepping some awesome new programs that we can't wait to share), we're also making sure to still stay connected to the spirit of #NewTravel.

One way we do that is to continue to run our local meetup group, now more than 300 members strong in Dallas alone. Phew! Our latest event featured digital nomad Kerranna Williamson - founder of vaga, a #workfromanywhere coworking concept, helping small businesses find space around the world.

Kerranna, a bone-fide digital nomad, used the event to share her own stories and travel and life hacks with our engaged local audience, that included some nomads who had spent time in Bali; tour guides; Guidrr creators; and many aspiring travelers seeking trips and tricks for how to do it better.

Kerranna, who Skyped in from Charleston for the meetup, which took place at coworking spot Nod in North Dallas, shared some great travel tips and hacks with us during the event, while attendees enjoyed pizza and conversation! 

Here's some of Kerranna's top tips: 

  • Finding ways to travel on someone else's dime. The examples she gave were that she worked early on as a handler for a student tour company, accompanying international students on trips. She used this as a way to fund her own travels to new countries. One of our attendees shared that early on in her career, she worked as a carrier to deliver international packages, a way to fund her own travel adventures. Now years later, she's retired and traveling again working for a women's tour company. (ps: Send us your tips at hello@guidrr.com) 
  • Finding project based work that includes international travel. Kerranna spent time in Lyon, (where she met Guidrr creator Sydney, by the way), and there developed relationships with companies that she still works with. Project check-ins happen virtually but every once in a while, she's on a plane for a new project kick off, courtesy a client in her scientific vertical. 
  • Staying longer in cities, to stay in more affordable, long-stay accomodations like Airbnbs. Kerranna shared her own hack for safely using finding free places to stay on Couchsurfing.org, a community where travelers can find locals to host them. She mentioned that as a single traveler, she would look for other women hosting travelers, her way of using Couchsurfing without the traditional concerns of sleeping on another person's couch! While she doesn't do this as much these days, it was a way she shared that she funded student travel and exploration. 
  • Finding an affordable & familiar home base. Contrary to the spirit of constant travel, Kerranna did mention it's useful to have a home base which is somewhere you can affordably stay longer-term, and build business contacts. That's why she chose Charleston as the base for vaga - her startup. This is the city where she grew up, she had a strong network of contacts and was able to launch her business via a local accelerator. 

Kerranna also talked about the incredible "travel high" that happens when she experiences new cultures, something that everyone in the travel-addict crowd could relate to!  Thanks for sharing your story Kerranna, and we look forward to featuring more nomad tips and tricks, and also featuring upcoming sessions on topics our crowd voted for, such as solo travel for women; and how to book at Airbnb! 

This week, we're happy to also welcome 3 new creators to our app - a big Guidrr welcome to Stephen; Debra and Courtney. Each bring a unique perspective to the app around their peer passions and interests. 

Check out a key experience from each of them below! 

  1. Debra's experience: Uptown to Downtown 
  2. Stephen experience: Locally-owned only tour through Oak Cliff
  3. Courtney's experience: Dallas Sunday Brunch Vegan Style

 

 

Little by Little, One Travels Far

Happy New Year, followers and friends. It's been a great (but busy) holiday season for our team, as we completed the Guidrr iOS app soft launch and testing - all the while keeping a limited-time free holiday promotion live so that more people could experience the peer-to-peer knowledge of our awesome creator community. Some killer stuff (pun intended) also happened when right after our Product Hunt shout-out, we were also featured on KillerStartups.com

Today, after a two-week holiday thank you period, we turn back on creator pricing, to fulfill our goal to help influencers benefit directly from sharing their hard-earned travel knowledge. We take seriously this #TravelTuesday J.RR Tolkein quote shared on the page of someone we follow online - Matthew @HimelandStein:  

TravelTuesday-Tolkein.JPG

As a startup seeking to change the way online travel influencers benefit from and interact with the world's largest industry, we know our big vision will happen little by little. We are already seeing some exciting success and traction. Our goal with Guidrr's #NewTravel platform is to directly reward peer travel influencers for their knowledge and inspiration. To further this, we're already focusing on some important enhancements to our powerful platform for on-demand experiences and partner app (which will release version 1.30 shortly).

So what's new? Starting this month, creators can not only continue to create and share step-by-step experiences that combine their own photography, content and tags anywhere in the world to followers via a mobile app, they also can leverage our our special deep-linking process to directly share specific created experiences to social following, or directly market their entire Guidrr channel to targeted audiences and gain insights from the conversion of their followers to engaged users and buyers. For something that doesn't cost approved creators a dime upfront that's pretty powerful stuff, in our humble opinion! 

  Creators like Stew of @StewRossTravels will not only be able to directly market each individual experience, but also deep link to their entire channel of experiences once our 1.30 update goes live this month. Stew's also our home page featured creator this week for his popular new "Curse of the Knights Templar" experience. 

 

Creators like Stew of @StewRossTravels will not only be able to directly market each individual experience, but also deep link to their entire channel of experiences once our 1.30 update goes live this month. Stew's also our home page featured creator this week for his popular new "Curse of the Knights Templar" experience. 

Guidrr is designed to be a more powerful way for online travel influencers to engage in mobile story telling and the result is deeper engagement & reach. It's available to approved creators as part of our free, application-only program

So, here's to doing big things, little by little.

And here's to NewTravel!

A Gift

Happy Holidays followers and friends. 

It's been a whirlwind, lean startup year for the Guidrr team. For those who have followed our startup journey, you know that we announced in May, built all summer, and phased a launch of our platform and app over the fall. 

By December, we not only had a live product with active creators from around the world, starting to share their self-guiding experiences - but also recognition from important technology sites that feature new startups with promise and a vision, like Product Hunt.

The latest comes from KillerStartups.com - who gave us the best holiday gift with the recognition of "Startup of the Day" on December 21st. 

It's our turn to gift something to our followers and friends, as a way of saying thanks for being there right at the start. Starting today, through January 5, 2016, our in-app experiences will be free, with our creators sharing back hundreds in value to those in-the-know about Guidrr. 

Whether it's simple curiosity, a trip you are planning, a desire to be a creator yourself, this is a great opportunity that comes to you from our creator community. In turn, do share back your testimonials and thanks with them from their guide thank you pages and ideas for more content you'd like to see from them. 

Thanks for helping to support our #newtravel vision. 

Happy Holidays and Here's to #NewTravel!

(ps: You may want to see this Medium post from our founder called "Founders Want this for the Holidays").  

Reflections: A Travel Post That Is Resonating

In the last few weeks, we noticed that one of our #TravelTuesday quotes (we run this series each week), is really resonating with those who come across it online. Its already generated so many comments, and even it's own quote trail, with others adding their travel and inspiration quotes to the comment chain. 

There is no doubt we are living in troubled times. Recent events around the world have generated fear and reduced many travelers' sense of hope and optimism, and the media is perhaps feeding that frenzy with more stories of hatred, disrespect and bigotry. 

But those of us that travel know something very important. Truth and perspective lies in travel. Precisely by moving - walking, (just to another neighborhood alone is enough), biking, hiking, kayaking, flying, driving and taking a train - we gain opportunities for knowledge and transformation. It is through travels that the author of this quote, naturalist and explorer Alexandar Von Humboldt, birthed much of modern biogeography. He left home in 1799 for a five-year Latin American expedition that led him to places as far-flung as Tenerife, Cumana, Caracas, Cartagena and Mexico City - nothing like his Prussian Berlin home.  

He joins many modern explorers, who have chosen to live a life of travel, as nomads and location independent workers. They are at the cutting edge of our future, whether they are based in Chang Mai, Kyoto, Santiago, or really anywhere that supports a culture of combining life, work and travel. 

It's more important than ever that we discover and reward these voices. That we reward the pioneers who are creating a peer to peer way of viewing and discovering our world.

Let's be honest, these days, we encounter stories that can horrify, and also responses that can disappoint. Let's counter all this ugliness with hope. There's a simple answer: travel & experiences. 

Here's to #NewTravel!

Our Holiday Meetup Series & A Sneak Peek at Big News!

It's official! Just a few weeks into our soft launch, today Guidrr inked our first city partnership - with Downtown Dallas, Inc., to inspire visits to the city from local residents, around a holiday concept called #DowntownWanderland! Thanks to the team for seeing the potential in marketing cities & local experiences using peer to peer influencers as our inspiration! 

Downtown Wanderland Logo.jpg

Working closely with the events team and the marketing director at Downtown Dallas Inc, we're proud to be promoting ways to explore our home city during the holidays, brought to you by the @Guidrr app and featuring local Guidrr creators like @AimeeMarieBentson and @DawnFisher.

Join us, if you're local to Dallas, on December 17th for the first of our Holiday Downtown Wanderland guided walks.

We'll meet up at The Joule Hotel downtown (which has parking for suburbanites!) to begin a guided journey of local discovery. There's no cost to attend, and you'll get a free downtown walking guide out of it, too, plus the chance to mingle and be merry with fellow travel addicts. 

Best of all, all walk participants get a bracelet that offers some fun free discounts on unique holiday shopping from locally grown retail brands - concepts that have come together under the umbrella "Unbranded." More on those concepts and special offers inside the free holiday guide we'll create and share. We'll post a link to the guide to our Meetup group, so RSVP there to receive it. 

For those who are looking for the latest news on the just-released Guidrr app, we're about to share an app update and right behind it, announcement of a very exciting launch effort called the NewTravel awards.

Happy Holidays - Give the gift of recognition to a travel influencer you admire this holiday season - Nominate them for the #NewTravel awards 2016

Happy Holidays - Give the gift of recognition to a travel influencer you admire this holiday season - Nominate them for the #NewTravel awards 2016

You heard it here first. It just takes a minute to nominate someone who's got a beautiful way of seeing and sharing places for the award. Would you consider gifting a friend with a nomination this holiday season? 

Here's to #NewTravel - and to rewarding our creators and influencers everywhere. 2016 is your year - and we are your partner! 

Happy Holidays!
Give the Gift of Recognition & Appreciation
Nominate A Peer Whose Travel Ideas and Trip Inspiration
You Admire & Enjoy





A December to Remember

Tonight, the Guidrr team and founder will present at the Launch DFW's Dallas New Tech holiday edition, sharing the Guidrr story with the local startup community. We're happy to be sharing the stage with many other local startups, and for this post, thought it was apt to reflect a little more on our own startup journey, taking you with us on our lean startup adventure that spans around the globe.

For those who read this as aspiring entrepreneurs, we hope there are lessons. For fellow entrepreneurs and startup teams, you'll find the familiar themes here:

  • First, the journey is long and winding
  • Secondly, that it takes you places and connects you to people you never thought you'd meet
  • And third, the precious moments are the ones where the team discovers, changes and evolves to build the product that's needed, and solves a real problem for others that aren't inside their circle of influence, to create real revenue

First revenue is the milestone we experienced last week, a huge moment for any startup. Thank you for sharing in our story, and for the messages of support, and feedback we've received. Our journey isn't over, in fact it's just begun with our app launch. Our full launch is December 8, so look out for next week's post - to be the first to hear the news. 

As we enter a time where many of us reflect and prepare for the new year, here's our own travel and startup journey. In a time where travel is under threat from fear, perhaps its even more important to share this. We hope you enjoy it! 

Idea: October 2014

Guidrr was first validated with a conversation that took place between our founder @aassiaharoonhaq and a local Florence blogger, who met at an a small apertivo spot in Via Santo Spirito on the Oltrarno side of the arno River. It's our "back of the napkin" moment. 

Team: January 2015

As our founder connected with local entrepreneurs and startup ecosystem members at the Dallas Entrepreneur Center, a sense of team began to build. A DFW advisory board helped "hack storm" our concept into existence by defining the MVP at a meeting that took place early the following winter. Key resources began to follow. 

Technology: April 2015

A local accelerator, Collide Village, approached with a request to become the first member of a new on-demand acceleration concept - Co-Build and in April, a customer and product development journey began alongside platform and app development to build a Swift iPhone app and a propreitary platform for experience-creation. 

Travel: May 2015 - and Onward! 

Members of our extended team traveled to Paris for OuishareFest 2015, presenting Guidrr to an international audience in the sharing economy and collaborative consumption space, followed by additional trips to Mexico City, Spain and France - where we met local travel micro-entrepreneurs to vet our product and business opportunity. 

Traction: June & Beyond 2015 

Applicants began to come in from around the world, even before the product was ready - and we built a weekly newsletter for our customers, calling them 'creators'. By August, our platform was ready for primetime, and we had a global creator community from multiple countries, across continents. 

Soft Launch: Sept-November 2015

We staged our launch from September to November - starting with our platform for experience-creation; a thank you visit with influencers in Florence hosted by Nardia; and a soft app launch for our creators and friends November 17. This was the same week we were also hunted by Product Hunt as a new technology from a female founder. Together, these milestone events helped us to define the path forward, and to make changes to make tweaks to both our product and design, none of which would have been possible had we not started the conversation some time ago. 

Launch: Coming Soon! Happy Holidays

Tonight, we'll enjoy a holiday startup event with local friends at Launch DFW - and preview the messages that will be part of our full launch press. If you're a Dallasite, we hope to see you there! If not, follow along on Twitter @Guidrr or use the hashtag #guidrrlaunch. Learn more about us and sign up for our #NewTravel newsletter, to be informed of our launch and special launch holiday offers here. Or, simply visit and download our app from here

Here's to #NewTravel - and to more entrepreneurship journeys!

ps: Thanks @ChicagoGupta, for interviewing our founder in advance of the event. Read the interview here

5 Ways Guidrr is Giving Thanks

Last week, we celebrated our soft launch with our local creators and community, and also presented at the local @1MillionCupsDAL entrepreneurship breakfast. At both events, we were grateful for the community's excitement, words of encouragement, ideas and the number of new applications to join the creator community. 

In honor of Thanksgiving week in the U.S., also week 1 of being live in the App store, we're counting down the 5 things we're giving thanks for. 

5. We're Thankful to Product Hunt for Picking Up our App - Just 24 hours after app launch, Guidrr was invited to Product Hunt. We're thankful to @CorleyH for inviting us to this lively community of innovators, product thinkers, and startup evangelists, led by @rrhoover. Guidrr's app was added to a list of products created by female founders and is already generating lively dialogue on the Product Hunt community. We invite you to join us there, learn about our vision, and share on our news to others. 

 

4. We're Thankful To Our Hundreds of Initial Users - Within a few days of going live, we're already seeing downloads, and direct feedback from the user base. This is far more than we could have asked for in a soft launch, holiday week. We're listening and evolving - and fixing the minor things that need fixing as we put version 1 into the market. Keep on sharing those ideas, it's how we will build a better solution for enabling peer to peer influencers to become the new gatekeepers to the industry. #NewTravel is about you. 

3. We're Thankful to Our Supporters & Enablers. Guidrr first made it's way into market with the help of a local startup "hack storming" team who met at Nod, our local coworking space, earlier this year, to refine and put some product definition around the concept. This team has stuck with us through the journey, and were there with us to celebrate our launch. Thanks to our awesome acting CTO Cristiano and the Collide Co-Build team, and to our advisory board team that includes Bentley, Christy, David, Nick, Sejal, Baiju, Melissa, and Dev & Chirag (not pictured). No startup goes very far without the encouragement and support of others, and we appreciate you! 

2. We're Thankful to Coworking & Colliding: Our founder, @aassiaharoonhaq, first met many of those who helped bring Guidrr to life at local entrepreneurship and coworking spaces, like the @theDECTX and @TreehouseTX. Interacting with local entrepreneurs like Tahir Hussain of Collide Village helped her frame the lean startup go-to-market product approach for Guidrr, and create the enabling partnerships that will help Guidrr take it's place at the disruptive point in the travel industry. Even before Guidrr was launched, Aassia's thought leadership on the on-demand platform space was featured in her keynote at a travel tech industry event for Thayer Ventures, a venture firm based in San Francisco and Dallas. To all those at the event who were curious about Aassia's own startup pursuits (the company was still mostly in stealth mode during that event and were still using a temporary logo), now's the time to check us out! 

 

1. Most of All, We're Thankful to our Creators: No business goes very far without serving those who make us successful in the first place, our founding creators, the ones with the real problem worth solving. All influencers in the emerging peer to peer travel space, these inspiring travel experts live around the world, and have diverse interests when it comes to travel inspiration. But each share a commitment to being innovative, trying new products and services, and co-building. We appreciate you - and it's your voice that we listen to first. Happy Thanksgiving creators and friends. Thank them by downloading our app for the last week that experiences are free before we turn on our market pricing and launch PR. 


Here's to #NewTravel. 

Our Soft Launch

Our local startup community will join us today at The Dallas Entrepreneur Center from 5-6 p.m. for an unveiling of our platform and app. It's also now possible to download our app from the App store. If you happen to do that between today and next week, you'll be able to preview all our current on-demand experiences, for free as a thanks for being an early user. 

The free Guidrr app is available. For one short week, on-demand experiences are soft launched & open for viewing for our close-in community to experience, before full launch when market pricing goes back on. Take a peek!

The free Guidrr app is available. For one short week, on-demand experiences are soft launched & open for viewing for our close-in community to experience, before full launch when market pricing goes back on. Take a peek!

It's surely a time of celebration, but in all this, we have not forgotten the events of this past Friday the 13th, where a city we all see as the iconic symbol of tourism - beautiful Paris - was hit by a series of deadly attacks.

Instead of using our own words to express what we truly hope, we're using the words of a wise travel man, one that single-handedly sent a generation of travelers of all ages to explore Europe, by foot, train, automobile and more.

Thank you Rick Steves, for saying it well. Let's continue to stand up for our earned human right to see the world, and gain the perspective that comes from travel experiences, even when there are troubled times.

Here's to #NewTravel and to creating many more Ricks, in every corner of our world, in every language, and around every area of interest, to inspire us all and break down the barriers of fear between people.  With Guidrr, we can do that. 

Person to person #NewTravel is more important now than ever. Let's do this, together, creators and friends.

Where's the Party?

On November 17, our team will throw a soft launch party at the Dallas Entrepreneur Center during Global Entrepreneurship Week, to celebrate Guidrr's app launching in the App store. 

And you're invited. 

Please RSVP here if you would like the chance to view the product before the public PR goes live, hear about our startup story, and join our team in a happy hour celebration of a lean startup journey. We'll have door prizes, international foods, and a beautiful vision of the future of global travel to share.  

For those who have been following Guidrr online, you know we announced our business in May, and set out to forever change the world's biggest industry with a simple idea: that peer to peer #NewTravel is the future

Fast forward to today, and we're proud to have built a platform for digital influencers to create and share on-demand experiences for their followers, and the world to discover. These experiences, which are sold by creators in the App store using Guidrr as their partner, enable travelers around the world to gain authentic, local, off the beaten path experiences, as if traveling with a friend. It's been an intense, action-packed journey around the world to develop Guidrr's business premise and it's solution. This next step isn't the end of a journey. It's just the beginning.

So, Here's to #NewTravel and here's to our awesome community of supporters and creators around the city, the country and the world. Let's party! 


Getting Out of the Building

Guidrr announced our launch and participation in the Collide Cobuild lean acceleration and product development program earlier this summer. Since then, we've rapidly built a platform, developed and approved an app and far more importantly, started to build a real customer base around serving travel influencers like bloggers, instagrammers, peer-to-peer guides and more.

We did this by embracing a simple philosophy - getting out of the building, literally getting on planes, trains & into automobiles, to hear from our travel influencer customer what their pain points are, and how we can help. 

This week, we're pleased to share we are adding two key new feature updates to our private guide-creation platform, just in time for our app launch. Together, we believe these two changes will further accelerate and unlock the potential for our service to change the industry and we can take no credit. The feedback that led to these updates came directly from our customer base across 7 countries and 4 continents. 

This week, we also introduced our 5 Key Creator Principles - our short-cut to our legal Terms of Use. It is our way of showcasing our philosophy and being transparent about what Guidrr is and how it's different from traditional travel solutions, by design. 

Together, these two steps show our growing community that we mean business when it comes to our vision of growing #newtravel - one creator at a time. 

Around us, the startup market in which we operate obsesses about unicorns they can grow and exit, but along the way, these peer-to-peer companies often forget what put them in business in the first place. The hustle, passion and influence of micro-entrepreneurs. The real problem - the problem worth solving - is how to turn peer influencers into businesses that thrive, and become the new gatekeepers to the $1.4 trillion travel industry. 

Is that a bold, clear vision or simply a distortion of reality? Well, how about both? This #TravelTuesday quote submitted to us by adventure travel blogger and influencer @MappingMegan, is a great example of how travel is all about perspective and that when we see these multiple realities - we can make meaningful change. Thanks for sharing the quote, Megan and hope you like the way we showcased it! 

Happy #TravelTuesday creators and friends - and here's to growing #newtravel together! 

We're Celebrating! And Prepping!

When we first announced the prelaunch of Guidrr in May, our founder @aassiaharoonhaq tweeted this out and began engaging with travel influencers around the country and the world - to tell a story about our business and its vision for championing #NewTravel. 

Today, we are happy to share a wonderful milestone for our team - the approval of our Apple app by the Appstore - news many in our creator community have been waiting for. You heard it here first! 

As you can imagine .. It's a little busy around here at Guidrr HQ - in all the right ways! 

Next week, we will share just how we'll approach our app launch. We've thought long and hard about how we're a different travel business model, a different travel app.

We'll try to reflect that in how we launch and how we grow. One creator at a time. 

So here's to #NewTravel - and changing the world's biggest industry for the better. 

Skift's 5 Key Takeaways

Our founder had the benefit of spending last week at the Skift Future of Travel forum in Brooklyn - interacting with a curated group of travel thinkers, technologists, marketers and C Suite leaders. 

The 2.5 days of events included keynote sessions, learning breakouts, and networking by the waterfront overlooking the river on a beautiful fall week where the weather cooperated with opportunities to mingle and learn from a group of worldly, travel-wise peers.

It carefully co-mingled leaders from traditional and new hospitality - as well as an array of interesting startups and investors tackling challenges in the changing travel industry. The leader of the event, Skift's straight-shooting CEO Rafat Ali, kicked it off with a statement that stuck. "We're the world's biggest industry. Let's start acting like it." 

As with any well-crafted conference, there were multiple themes and tracks at play - but here's the five ideas that stood out for us:

1. Destination Marketing Goes P2P: The CEOs of the New York City tourism organization, Fred Dixon, and the Dubai tourism board, Issam Kazim, both shared keynotes that echoed one big theme - trip inspiration and destination marketing is now in the hands of people, not the center. They shared two equally impactful campaigns that enabled visitors and residents alike to tell the story of these two iconic tourism cities. The Dubai campaign, #mydubai - has generated millions of impressions of Dubai's residents beyond the Burj. And, @NYCGO, a partnership with Taylor Swift, created a multi-layered campaign - called #W2ny #welcometonewyork - that enabled visitors from around the world to post pictures of themselves around every borough of the city. Fred Dixon, CEO @NYCGO also shared news of an ambitious plan to make NYC a complete wifi hotspot - the idea to generate a completely connected city for tourism and locals alike, encouraging those 18 million local New Yorkers to also behave like tourists in places in the city they have never been. We're sold Mr. Dixon, and your vision is ours for Guidrr, and we look forward to helping and furthering your goals. And Mr. Kazim, we're impressed with your team's desire to show the real Dubai - to operate with trust in your visitors and local population. Your local Instagrammers are some of the best in the world, and we are excited to be part of how peer to peer influencers tell the stories of journeys in their cities. 

2. Hotels Talk Hosts, Not Guests - While P2P Just Begins It's Journey: We felt more than ever at Skift, surrounded by CEOs, CMOs and CIOs from major chains, that P2P has influenced and changed the language and approach of broader hospitality. A CEO of a major chain began an early keynote with the theme that being a "host" might be an idea for chains to consider rather than "guests" - a telling nuance and strategic signal. At the end of two days of talks, one fact stood out for us was a stat announced on stage by the CMO of Airbnb: the company, now with 2M global listings, still has just 1% US penetration in the market. This tells us P2P is not just here, but it's here to stay, and it's impact has only just begun. In the same talk, a key announcement was shared about a partnership between Virgin and Airbnb in the hospitality industry. Big change is coming in the ways we belong, and how we belong - and we're along for the ride. 

3. The Rise of the Black Traveler: We learned about the desires, and dreams of African American travelers from dynamic young female CEO of Travel Noire, Zim Ugochukwu. She shared that this $43B market is as yet grossly undeserved, but is poised for dramatic growth. The solutions that work for new black travelers may be different from the solutions that work for other sectors. We took away a simple message: wanderlust knows no color, and our job in the industry is to make everyone feel they can belong, not just that they have a bed to sleep in. It's our vision at Guidrr to enable those who want to travel to travel often and share in any language and voice of their choosing - and change the world while doing it, one visit at a time. Seventeen percent of African American travelers on average take 6 leisure trips a year, shared Ms Ugochukwu. We agree, it's about time this important market demographic is given the attention it deserves.

4. Instagram & Influencers is What it's All About: A beautiful story (pun intended) was shared by the founder of an Instagram marketing company that was able to build a community around travel photography, @BeautifulDestinations. Founder Jeremy Jauncey discussed the incredible power of Instagram as a travel platform - sharing that the travel is the majority theme of the global Instagram community. Considering Guidrr's platform is built on integrating a creator's own Instagram content into a more complete P2P digital travel guide, we're 100% sold. Jauncey shared a powerful presentation focused on speaking to companies that attempt to use the platform in a simplistic way, not understanding the difference between engagement and true impact. He pointed out the idea that to learn how to use Instagram's ecosystem right, companies need to understand how to measure influence. As we spoke after with innovators and strategists from bigger hotel chains, we heard the message - how do we understand influencer marketing, and then get it right? Instagram is not just a key platform for travel - it may be the only one that really matters. It pleases us that people are listening and learning. 

5. Learning is the New Luxury:  Learning was also a theme of a presentation from a niche, and beautifully shared hotel chain keynote presentation by 21c Museum Hotels. This luxury brand marries downtown revival in second cities like Louisville, Bentonville and more - with public art and learning experiences. We heard from curator Alice Gray-Stites about the power of the 21c brand to engage travelers who want more than just a room, but wish to participate in culture as an experience. Hotel chains like this tell us a story about the niching of travel businesses - and the extent to which travelers of a certain sort are loyal to brands that speak to their preferences and interests, outside of the major cultural destinations like NYC, Paris, Florence and London. Learning as a luxury is a broader theme about unveiling the back stories of cities and spaces - and allowing those who know to share this knowledge with those who seek it, which is our Guidrr vision and a focus of an upcoming campaign we'll be unveiling as part of our growth story. One of our own creators, @StewRosstravels, writes backstories for Paris sights, peeling back their history in step by step self-guided tours that will sit inside the Guidrr app. We can't wait to democratize the luxury of learning, and to partner with the innovative 21c group and visit their location. Thanks for the invite, Alice! Do bring your concept of art as a public experience to Dallas next, we're already innovating on that front in our cultural district. 

It would be unfair to characterize Skift as just the sum total of these 5 ideas. Practical sessions on startup growth-hacking, in-depth sessions on video in travel and a reveal on the back story of the Bourdain CNN show by the producer were other round-outs - and while we missed it personally, Ivanka Trump took the stage and also wowed, according to those in the room. 

All in all, between discussions we had with heads of tourism for Britain, Australia, Dubai and NYC, and conversations with hospitality companies experimenting with the role of influencer marketing, we can say with some confidence - #NewTravel is here, and it's here to stay. 

If you have a moment, check out our new home page, and be the first to sign up to see how Guidrr helps influencers create, share and discover peer to peer experiences around the world.

Stay tuned for a set of big announcements around our launch, with a way to help tourism organizations tap into the trends around #newtravel and leverage the platforms that matter. 

5 Things About Guidrr & the Future of Travel

As we get ready to attend the kickoff of the Skift Future of Travel forum in New York City, there's been a lot of internal discussion among our team around the question - what do we stand for? The reason that matters so much to us is that we don't aspire to be just another app, or just another travel company. Our visions are far, far bigger than the exact size of our travel boots right now. Perhaps they always will be. 

As we hit go on the clock for approval by the App store, it seems like the perfect opportunity to share a little of what we care about and stand for. 

One, authenticity. Our creators join us because they create quality content that's original in thought and perspective. They aren't trying to build content for everyone - but rather content for someone - a real traveler or local who wants and can benefit from their unique travel perspective. Using our platform, their knowledge turns into a valuable product worth paying for and becomes an affordable, turn-key way for them to offer on-demand knowledge to the global market. And for curious travelers to consume it. 

Two, directly rewarding the creator - the micro-entrepreneur. Rather than trying to build a blockbuster app where we're the editor, curator and sharer of a content farm, we're all about giving the reins to those who are the real holders of travel knowledge and influence - people in every language, around the world, sharing because they care. We succeed every time they do, not just when one product hits a home run. 

Three, being transparent. We share our pricing and format openly with creators, so they can see how it's possible - and in fact, smart - to start turning peer influence more directly into earned income. Avoiding reliance on a brand sponsorship and ad model in favor of an in-app purchase model is our way to show not tell how influencers can become a new gatekeeper to travel purchase, with Guidrr as their platform partner. 

Fourth, proving it's not just technology first, but also people first. We strive to connect creators with each other via private channels like our newsletter, make introductions and help make each creator more successful, as a part of Guidrr. This way, we all win. Our best way to do this is by listening hard to creator feedback on our platform and app, and striving to make things better, one step at a time. We don't like to over-build, because our tech philosophy is feature-light and purpose-built to do a few things well, not a lot of things poorly. (But, build we will .. our pipeline is already full of useful beautiful ideas and features submitted by creators). 

Fifth & most importantly - no Freemiums. It's time those with valuable knowledge and information to share - those who take the effort to package it ion something beautiful and timeless - are able to earn a reward for their efforts and their daily hustle. Each time a creator posts, each time they write a blog post or put another freemium into the market, we also believe they should create products worth paying for. Because we believe in #NewTravel - where micro-entrepreneurs with influence can be the future gatekeepers of travel, even beyond it's content. 

So here's to #NewTravel and here's to an awesome week in NYC with the people of Skift. Thanks for extending us a startup ticket to learn, listen and share! See you this evening. 

 

#NewTravel - One Story at a Time

As we watched our app ship off to the approval process, our founder took the chance to get away and explore a new part of the country and build a local guide, meeting more of those on the ground driving peer-to-peer travel, what we call #newtravel. 

Planning a trip - especially a weekend escape - can be daunting. It's important to pick the right place to stay, know which places to visit and which to avoid, and to maximize the measure and minimize the stress. Those who take the time to do so, like frequent travelers, bloggers, instagrammers, and nomads, can share because they care by building a Guidrr guide, so others can more easily walk in their shoes and travel as if with a friend. 

For our team, peer-to-peer travel also isn't necessarily staying in the big box hotels, eating exactly what others do - traveling like a tourist. It's more about forging your own path, which can include choosing to stay in a place that has a local owner, a travel micro-entrepreneur with more than just a space to offer, but also a story to tell. That's being a traveler. 

Our host, Ray, was a little shy about having his photo taken, so we took permission to take the one above while he was turning away to pick a leaf from his lemon tree, to show us the local scent. 

He's a professor, and a long time entrepreneur who bought his property as a second home, but decided to add on to it and create a B&B. Once he was finished, it become a family business of sorts. During the week, he has hired a local to help greet and work with guests but on weekends he's often there himself along with family members. 

Ray's story started in South America in Venezuela, where his family emigrated from South Asia, took a turn toward Italy, where his extended family settled and still lives - and then turned toward the US. which he now calls home. He's lived in his local area for more than 30 years and his B&B, unlike a big box hotel, is a reflection of his own roots, named for his birth language, but also greeting guests with his adoptive tongue. 

The saying at the door of Ray's property welcomes guests in his adoptive tongue, but that's just part of the story of this special spot. 

The saying at the door of Ray's property welcomes guests in his adoptive tongue, but that's just part of the story of this special spot. 

While we visited, we learned this language professor turned peer-to-peer host keeps improving his own ability to connect with guests. In fact, he's taught himself Japanese, to better host and welcome guests from that country. 

Building on his success from owning one property he's also extended to build and rent another, which he offers to those looking for more than one room. 

We celebrate stories of peer to peer travel because they better tell the story of our new world. No matter where you come from, and where you are going, you can always enhance the travel experience of another traveler by taking the time to share your story.

So, thanks for sharing yours, Ray and we can't wait to include you and your beautiful properties in a coming Guidrr guide from our founder @travelswithaassia.  

Sign up here if you'd like to be part of our initial launch list.

And here's to #NewTravel!

Ray, a B&B owner in Napa Valley, picks a leaf from his local lemon tree to share the scent with guests. He's been in the area for more than 30 years. 

Ray, a B&B owner in Napa Valley, picks a leaf from his local lemon tree to share the scent with guests. He's been in the area for more than 30 years.