What is TripPlannera? Who is it for?
Hmayak: Our users are mainly the people who like to travel. When you travel, you need to plan the trip well ahead the time you set off. However, our own research has shown that planning a family trip might take up to 20 days (2-3 hours daily). So, in average it takes some 50 hours.
There are a hundred things to consider e.g. the duration of your trip, which days to choose, what destinations to visit, what routes to take. As soon as you have decided for how long and where you want to stay, you will need to find a hotel and book a ticket. But this is not all, you might be wondering what to do, what sightseeings to visit or what events to attend. So, you will have to inquire which places are available on your chosen dates. Also, you will need to create an agenda of things to do during your stay in order not to miss a thing.
TripPlannera helps you do this all in just a few minutes!
You register on our website, you choose your destination, you choose the start and the end dates and you mention your interests. For example, choose between city tours and museum tours or family vacations and solo travel. Based on the information you have provided, Tripplannera helps you plan your trip. The AI elements we use, take into account your free hours, your eating hours, your interests and everything else. Also, the platform will book tickets for you and make all the reservations. And you can choose among a lot of local events from the variety of sources that our platform provides you with.
What ignited the spark in you to start Tripplannera?
Hmayak: I travel a lot. And we have had this problem in our family for years. It is really hard to plan a trip especially if you are not alone. I did some research to find out whether other people have this kind of problem too. And it turned out that those who travel a lot, do have a hard time planning their trips. So, I decided to create something that would help people plan their trips painlessly within minutes.
What’s the most important feature you are working on right now?
Hmayak: Currently, we are working on a lot of things simultaneously. Soon, we are going to widen the category of interests. In a three-months period, we are going to offer trip plans to every destination you could think of. Also, our users will be able to book a hotel room right within the platform․
How many people are there in your team? What kind of person will succeed there?
Hmayak: We are 13 people in the team.
First of all, these should be team players and people who care for the team. Secondly, we take into account how much a person loves traveling and how much they have actually traveled. We need the person to understand the core problems of a traveler. So, whether it’s a developer or a marketing specialist, they should clearly understand what the traveler’s problems are and what should be done to help him/her solve those problems.
Thirdly, we appreciate people who are eager to learn things. Startups do not need 9-6 employees, they need motivated freaks who are ready to learn and invest on their self-development.
What kind of team building activities does your team like the most?
Hmayak: We love hiking. Last time we were in Dilijan Parz lake. And we often organize team trips.
How do you generate new ideas?
Hmayak: Well, we do not have a set date or time to generate ideas. If someone in the team has a good idea, they share it with the rest. We also have dedicated files for ideas and we constantly get back to them to set goals accordingly.
What about your work-life balance?
Hmayak: When you have a startup, it’s always in your mind. You keep generating ideas and thinking about the different ways to solve problems. One of the best ways to get restarted is traveling and hiking with your family or friends.
Also, a good idea is to network and to get to know new people, complete strangers. It helps to look at usual things from a different perspective.
Do you like traveling? Where have you been during your life?
Hmayak: I adore traveling. I have been to so many places, let me remember: Saint Petersburg, Helsinki, Tallinn, Salamanca, Vienna, Lisbon, Paris, Milan, Pisa, Rome, Naples, Venice, Monaco, Nice, Dubai, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Miami, Prague, Santorini, Athens, Istanbul, Cairo etc.
If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
Hmayak: I would have changed quite a few things. Though I do not think I would have chosen a completely different path.
Could you please describe/outline your typical day?
Hmayak: My typical day starts with hearing my little baby girls’ voice in the morning. Then it goes on quite normally like the day of a normal person. I have my breakfast and I go to work. All my day is filled with TripPlannera. I also try to attend networking events and meetups with peer entrepreneurs and potential investors.
Are there any particular publications, magazines or influencers you read/follow?
Hmayak: I would recommend reading Ben Horowitz’s book “The hard thing about hard things: Building a business when there are no easy answers.”
The best thing about this book is that the story is told in a very straightforward manner. And a typical case study is being described. It does not promise anything. It just tells a story.
In general, I love sci-fi: I read books and watch movies since they inspire me a lot.
What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Hmayak: You got to learn something new every single day. The opportunities are limitless and being an entrepreneur is challenging in itself. So, you have the freedom to work on your own but at the same time, you need to invest a lot of time and effort into whatever you are doing.
Could you please enumerate a few marketing strategies that help you promote your product?
- Search Engine optimization to attract more traffic to our website
- Generating referrals: reaching out to bloggers, influencers
- Social Media Marketing
- Content Marketing
And lastly, what are the 3 pieces of advice you can give to entrepreneurs who are just entering the game?
- Sleep well.
- Network the right way: be open to people, ask questions and ask for help if needed.
- Try to hire the right people. If you are the smart and fun type of person, then you need to find the smart and fun type of employees otherwise you will not be able to get along with one another well. Think about what your company culture is going to be like and find people who will suit it.