HEY BUDDY

An app cre­at­ing shared ex­pe­ri­ences be­tween dif­fer­ent peo­ple

Oi Vietnam - - Contents - In­ter­view by Oi Viet­nam Im­ages Pro­vided by Tubudd

An app cre­at­ing shared ex­pe­ri­ences be­tween dif­fer­ent peo­ple

TUBUDD (TOUR BUDDY) IS A

travel app that aims to pro­vide au­then­tic ex­pe­ri­ences and in­sider knowl­edge from lo­cals to trav­el­ers. Tubudd does not help users book ho­tels or plan a trip. In­stead, users can book a lo­cal guide who will show them hidden gems and in­sider knowl­edge of the city.

We speak to An­nie Vu, one of the five creators of Tubudd, to learn more.

Ex­plain Tubudd and how is it dif­fer­ent from other travel ser­vices like home­s­tays and lo­cal ex­pert concierges?

Tubudd is a ser­vice, a mar­ket­place where trav­el­ers can book a lo­cal guide wher­ever they go. This lo­cal guide will not host them (like home­s­tay), but they are like a friend (buddy) to them. They will be able to take them to lo­cal places. This is due to some prob­lems when peo­ple travel, like the lan­guage bar­rier, the cul­ture. Re­cently, an Amer­i­can wo­man bought a banh

ran for VND700,000—that's so un­fair to trav­el­ers and tourists any­where. So, this buddy helps trav­el­ers avoid scams, ex­plains the cul­ture, the lan­guage, and helps them have a bet­ter trip with­out all these has­sles.

With other travel agents peo­ple must book tours, Tubudd is dif­fer­ent. Some­times tours are big group with peo­ple you don’t know, there is no pri­vacy. In ad­di­tion, it's all to tourist at­trac­tions, they will miss all the fun, the best places, the lo­cal spots that make a coun­try spe­cial. And it will be cheaper as well.

The term "au­then­tic ex­pe­ri­ence" gets used a lot in the travel in­dus­try and have lost its mean­ing some­what. What does it mean to you?

Be­cause they will be taken cared, led by a lo­cal buddy who may not study tourism but loves the city, the coun­try, the cul­ture and knows all the hide and seek spots in the city: Where best to have Viet­namese cof­fee, where best for

pho and where best to buy clothes and so on. Trav­el­ers will be able to choose and go to places they need and want. To let the trav­el­ers live and ex­pe­ri­ence the real things, the ev­ery­day things that Viet­namese peo­ple do ev­ery day, that's what we call "au­then­tic ex­pe­ri­ence," not only eat­ing spring rolls in a Viet­namese restau­rant.

What cities are Tubudd al­ready in?

Pretty much all over Viet­nam: Hanoi (some can cover Ha Long Bay, Sapa and Ha Giang as well), Vinh, Da Nang, Hoi An and Saigon. Out­side Viet­nam we have peo­ple in Manch­ester, some in Fin­land, Ber­lin, Mar­rakesh and some states in Amer­ica.

My goal is to make Tubudd suc­cess­ful in Viet­nam be­cause I be­lieve we can have more trav­ellers to Viet­nam once they know this ser­vice and ad­ver­tise Viet­nam tourism to every­where to the world. Then would be South East Asia.

Do you be­lieve it's nec­es­sary to per­son­ally ex­pe­ri­ence all the places Tubudd op­er­ates in?

Yes, I do! Right now we are based in Manch­ester. We have Viet­namese stu­dents and my Western friends in other coun­tries but be­cause we have not had a web­site yet we have not gone wild in find­ing lo­cal guides yet. I be­lieve I will re­ceive lots of re­quests from peo­ple all around the world once we get our name out there. And I will go to ev­ery coun­try Tubudd op­er­ates to meet them to make sure we con­nect with each other. That's why I and an­other co-founder are back to Viet­nam in Au­gust.

One of the rea­sons why I came up with Tubudd idea was my trip all around Viet­nam a cou­ple of years ago. I went with my two Cana­dian friends and I be­lieve with­out me they would have had lots of trou­bles and would not love Viet­nam.

How do you re­cruits guides over­seas and en­sure safety for both users and guides? Are back­ground checks done?

Right now, we are do­ing every­thing man­u­ally. But yes, all the guides should have back­ground checks done. They will have to pay for it, and it will be stated on their pro­files. In other coun­tries like the UK, we use CBR check (they have to pay for it as well). We all have 10 minute chats with ev­ery sin­gle one of them, ei­ther via Skype or face-to-face. Other com­pa­nies that of­fer sim­i­lar ser­vices, they just get the guides to sign up on­line and there is no se­cu­rity in­volved. From now un­til we get the back­ground check sys­tems in­stalled, we will use ref­er­ences to make sure the safety of both.

Will there be a rat­ing sys­tem for the guides?

Yes, rat­ings and re­views. If the guides have lower than three stars we will give them warn­ings and any lower than two stars for three months we will ter­mi­nate them.

Will the app be avail­able in ev­ery lan­guage?

Yes at first the web­site will be in English, then Chi­nese, French, Span­ish and other lan­guages. The app will have them as well.

Is it free to use? How will you mon­e­tize Tubudd?

It is free to use for the user: They can chat, talk to Tubudd guides be­fore they book. They will only have to pay Tubudd guides' prices. The price will be set by the guides so dif­fer­ent guides have dif­fer­ent prices. We will charge the guides a cer­tain per­cent­age of how much they earn. It also de­pends on their rat­ing and re­views as well. We have Top Tubudd for guides who con­stantly have five stars rat­ings and we will charge them a lower per­cent­age.

An­nie and An­thony, one of the five co-founders

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