Founder Spotlight: Andrew Cua of Tralulu
Maximizing the potential of the best possible experience: How we are to make good memories through one of the most favored hobbies of all time—to travel
By Glacer Barnett
With the work that we do to lead a good life, there comes a time when we grow tired of the monotony of it all. We become driven to engage in a means of relief from the expectations of everyday living.
A popular activity would be to travel.
Whether in an exotic unknown island that takes you out of your comfort zone, or in a flourishing city ready to provide you with a glimpse into its culture, people feel pleasure in new experiences inclusive to both the sensory realities and the novel understandings
It is inevitable, however, that we face problems upon traveling to an unfamiliar place. The myriad of issues could range from spending on something invaluable out of lack of familiarity for the local value, to committing social offenses out of ignorance. It may simply even be getting lost with a language barrier. Taking all of these into account, people then seek for a solution to avoid these problems. This is where Tralulu comes into play.
Beginning the journey to the destination that is Tralulu
Andrew Cua is the CEO and co-founder of Tralulu, a web and mobile application made to connect inspiring travelers with knowledgeable local guides, who are ready to help them attain the best possible traveling experience suited to their ideals and tastes.
At a young age, Andrew was aware of what his creativity was capable of. He was a boy who wasn’t given a daily allowance, unlike his classmates who could buy whatever snack they wanted. To be like them, he formed an idea: He would act as a “canteen delivery boy” which would save his classmates the trouble of going through the long and tedious walk of going to the canteen, but on one condition: that he would keep the change of the money they would give him.
The idea worked.
At that time, he took the essential baby steps into building a system that would suit the needs of the people. This ultimately led to his own profit; it was his starting point.
Inclined to business, Andrew took the initiative to gain experience in the entrepreneurial world. He first entered the world of network marketing when he was still a high school student. He quit eventually but the experience remained with him. It allowed him to form an ethical founding for his future occupational endeavors.
Once Andrew became a university student, he got himself involved in small start-up businesses—namely producing chocolate from farmed cacao beans, along with setting up an online grocery service for the students in his university.
The different business practices Andrew did throughout the different stages of his life served as learning experiences that helped him with his current business, Tralulu.
It began in 2015 when Andrew and a few of his colleagues, co-founders of Tralulu, joined ASEAN, a start-up competition where young entrepreneurs from Southeast Asia compete to win funding for the set up and development of their own enterprise. In his stay, Andrew had a chat with foreign travelers about the kind of problems common to Southeast Asian countries. They concluded language barriers as the mutual difficulty. Traveling to a country where English isn’t generally spoken would make it easy for one to get lost and fall prey to being taken advantage of. So what could be a solution to this? “The solution would be to find a local who knows the language," they thought. Out of this, they extended their idea to creating an ecosystem where locals and travelers could interact. The concept proved to be useful and it ended up winning the ASEAN. Andrew’s team turned their concept into a practical entity with the help of Startup Malaysia. And with this came the birth of Tralulu.
Tralulu: A digital platform maximizing the potential of the best possible experience
The Tralulu community envisions humanized traveling experiences in the region. They want to empower the locals to take pro-active roles in enabling authentic experiences. Tralulu differentiates itself from the other tour companies by giving their guides creative freedom in their work. Usually tour companies would refer their customers to set destinations, offering a discount, but Tralulu believes that this limits the potential of the finest conditions that the guides can give the travelers. Thus, Tralulu guides are pushed to become “travel entrepreneurs.” They organize tours and create their own experiences.
The saying “third time’s the charm” would best describe Tralulu’s branding. Dissatisfied with the first two chosen brand names, Andrew’s team made a shortlist of catchy 3-syllable words. Upon asking random travelers for a name that would catch their attention, 40-50% of them chose Tralulu. The tentative choice became a solid decision when Andrew’s team learned that the name Tralulu could be broken down into “Tra” for travel and “Lulu,” a word that means extraordinary experience. It was clearly of no coincidence, so with that, Tralulu became the official brand name.
The underpinning of Tralulu’s essence would be on the guides. Anybody familiar with the desired location can be a guide, but to be an official one, however, would require passing the quality standards. Personalized offers made by guides are accepted as long as the same metrics into making one are followed: Guides should submit the itinerary with a price range that has to have a detailed explanation on how the price was decided upon. After this, the company will check for whether these prices are of reasonable value or not. Moreover, guides are to explain what is to be expected on the tours. The company can develop the itinerary by making recommendations to achieve the best kind of tour for the travelers. The tourists are to input their preferred activities and it will be filtered out to match a guide with an itinerary inclusive to these activities.
The road Tralulu is set to travel in to achieve its purpose
Tralulu officially launches on August 19, 2016. With Tralulu, you aren’t just booking a guide, you are essentially booking a travel organizer ready to customize things to suit your vacating ideals. The traveling is inclusive to both the local exotic locations.
When people decide to travel to different countries one after the other, “chain-travel,” as one would call it, they decide on travelling to the nearest ones. Southeast Asians would likely decide to travel to the nearest Southeast Asian regions. Say for example, from the Philippines, one would go to Malaysia before deciding to go to Singapore. Tralulu’s end goal is to have aspiring travelers “chain-book” the different Southeast Asian countries for the best potential experience.