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(From left): TouristPads team members Caleb Wong, Abigail Khor, Joshua Wong
Helping tourists get around Singapore is the main idea behind an iPad rental company dedicated to the tourism industry. Interested users can reserve one for S$30 (US$24) day, with delivery and collection services thrown in for free.
The company behind the service, TouristPads, began around the start of this year when brothers Caleb and Joshua Wong teamed up with third co-founder Abigail Khor soon after they graduated from university. After tossing through several ideas, they decided to fuse their interest in technology and travel.
Co-founder Joshua Wong tells ZDNet Asia why he believes there is a market for his service.
Why do you think your business idea would work?
Wong: Imagine yourself on a trip to another country, for instance, Vienna. The first thing you do when you arrive is to get to the bookstore and buy a map, perhaps a mobile SIM card, and maybe look around for some tourist brochures to see what are some of the things you've missed out.
As a savvy traveler, you know the importance of local guides and knowledge, and you do not want to just visit the "common" attractions or worst, get lured into tourist traps. With our service, the moment you touch down at the airport, we will deliver our TouristPad to you, which will replace your map, your mobile SIM card which allows you to Skype home for free, and offer access to a wealth of inside information and guides from local apps, blogs, and magazines.
At the end of your stay, our couriers pay you a visit to personally collect the TouristPad. There is absolutely no fuss with our service, just lots of goodness and value. We work hard to satisfy all our customers, and our apps and content is curated to bring the best to them.
There were many challenges along the way to getting the business up and running, from getting merchant accounts with the banks for credit-card processing, to getting various marketing channels up and running ready for our launch, to coding and designing our entire Web site. As this was the first time all of us were starting a business, we had to learn the ropes on-the-go but in all, we are proud of successfully bringing this service to all visitors to our marvelous sunny island.
How has the takeup met your expectations?
One definition of entrepreneurship by HBS professor Howard Stevenson is: "Entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled."
As a self-funded business, and having launched our service on Jul. 18, 2012, we have had to be resourceful to overcome various challenges in bringing our service to customers in all areas of the business.
We have had much fun learning while conducting all aspects of our business, including marketing, graphics design, legal, finance, accounting and business strategy. Balancing all of these has not been easy, but we believe our service is of great value to travellers and having a focus on delivering the best value to our customers has been our key priority from day one.
As we have just launched and are only getting started, we can't really comment on the takeup rate. Of those who have used our service, they have been very pleased. One customer commented that having the ability alone to Skype home has made our service entirely value for money!
How do you hope to grow the business?
Depending on how well the business does, we will wish to slowly expand our business beyond Singapore's shores, as we believe our service brings additional value to travellers all over the world.
We look forward to the day where TouristPads will be the premier technology rental service in major tourist destinations globally. In the meantime, we are focusing our efforts on building the TouristPads brand by providing the best service to tourists coming to Singapore. Our main goal is to delight our customers and enhance their stay in Singapore.