April Cuenca (FlipTrip)
FlipTrip is an online travel platform with a simplified booking system to help tourism-related businesses in building an online presence and accepting real-time booking conveniently. The idea of FlipTrip started in 2014, and its business model even won IdeaSpace. After thorough research, validation, and testing, it got officially launched in January 2015. FlipTrip offers customized travel packages that cater to all market levels. It earns money from the transaction fees from bookers. Before finalizing their system, they made sure to study the market behavior and see what pattern works best for them. They eventually found out that they started getting more traction after creating group trips. Thus, they started focusing on group trips and designed an app, called TripKada, which got launched on August 10, 2016. TrikpKada is expected to revolutionize the way people travel.
The company aims to promote an affordable and convenient way to travel. Backpackers no longer have to persuade a friend or a family member to go on travel with them as they can already go to the app and book a slot in the group trips organized. Travel would then become cheaper because it’s a group package, and it’s a perfect way to socialize and meet new people. It’s also a way to help organizers earn money out of their passion. No capital, just plain fun.
The vision is to create ways for people to connect to the smaller destinations, drawing them away from overcrowded and highly commercialized tourist spots. People usually go to the Philippines and just keep an eye on Boracay when in fact there are 7,500 islands in the Philippines waiting to be uncovered. FlipTrip doesn’t want seeing other destinations getting left behind.
Dealing with the Competition
Basically, there’s no other app or platform that does the same thing. And if there are, they’re usually travel agencies that tend to do everything. Thus, the price is usually higher because of their huge overhead expenses. FlipTrip, on the other hand, crowdsources. Their platform naturally attracts businesses and trip organizers. The content on their site and app are user-generated, and they gear their focus on community building. In fact, they host the only travel meetup in the country bimonthly, which have more than 150 attendees a month. The event does not have ads cost, and everything is arranged to grow the community.
The FlipTrip Team
FlipTrip consists of 7 brilliant team members. They have a development team, taking care of the website, and a small operations team, handling the content. This is the perk of having user-generated content. You don’t have to do everything yourself. The culture that the team holds is informal yet organized. For them, it’s all about the results.
Challenges of FlipTrip
Like any other businesses, it’s always a challenge to create more traction and get more customers. However, no challenge is keeping them from moving forward. They are open to challenges because they know that each challenge overcome is a step closer to reaching their goals. They plan to expand globally. After a year, they want to expand to other countries with the same travel behavior, like Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. Thus, they must perfect their system in the Philippines and make it duplicatable for their future expansions.
April Cuenca’s Story and Core Principles
April Cuenca is the CEO of FlipTrip. She has always been a traveler. She’s passionate about building communities. She wants to create opportunities for people to help themselves. FlipTrip embodies that desire. April believes that if you can get people go to a certain destination, you’re actually helping that community already. When people travel, they’re paying the tricycle driver, the restaurant, the boatman, etc. This already makes a difference in the lives of the locales. April uses tourism as an instrument to pay it forward and help communities flourish.
FlipTrip is the product of April’s travels. Her travels have led her to come up with such an idea. When she just started, she didn’t know where to begin. She didn’t know what to do or what business model to work on. After many days of conceptualizing, studying the market needs and competition, FlipTrip was born. FlipTrip means changing the way people travel and changing the way tourists see the Philippines.
For April, entrepreneurship is about passionately creating a solution for real-world problems. It’s essential to create something that leaves everything better than before. She started developing her entrepreneurial spirit since she was in high school. People usually asked her what she wants to be and what kind of job she wants to have. And her answer is always “I don’t wanna have a job. I want to create jobs.” This is an early indication that she’s bound for success.
According to her, what keeps her going is her healthy support system, including her family, friends, her mentors, and her boyfriend. For her, a good support system is essential to achieve success. On top of that, having a vision is also very important. You must have a deep why in creating things—beyond monetary. The heart to do things and the passion and attitude in dealing with the road blocks are important to march forward. She doesn’t want to be only a goal-setter. She wants to be a goal-getter. Her competitive nature and hard work make her achieve things. She wants to beat herself every day. Her foundation in everything was created by her experience in football, wherein she developed the persistence to become always better than she was yesterday. She also constantly exposes herself and hangs around people whom she believes are better than her. Surrounding yourself with like-minded people, for her, is very important.
As a whole, April Cuenca is a great example of a young entrepreneur who is not afraid to do something that has never been tried before. And FlipTrip is an example of a startup that has successfully identified the market needs and has created an innovative solution that promotes an improved transformation of the tourism industry.