Like Locals is a startup offering travelers authentic tips by locals, achieving an online community of more than 5,000 people and 30 locals in Barcelona, Budapest, and London about a week after the launch of its app.
Co-founders Gabriella Csányi (the daughter of Hungarian billionaire businessman and OTP Bank CEO Sándor Csányi) and Constantinos Los, both avid travelers, came up with the idea of Like Locals after encountering difficulties while traveling.
“We both experienced the frustrations that come with planning, researching, and booking these trips. We would spend hours, if not days, online trying to scout the best recommendations from our local friends and booking ‘local experiences’ that turned out to be tourist traps,” Csányi told the Budapest Business Journal. When the two met at the LSE, they were full of ideas of solving such issues, not only for themselves.
“Initially, our aim was to connect like-minded locals and travelers. However, after we developed our MVP and tested it with beta testers we quickly learned that [...] locals lacked the time to respond or meet-up quickly enough and instead they would send complete ‘city guides’ to our travelers,” she added.
“These guides were essentially walking trails, full of hidden gems and lesser-known locations complete with a lot of interesting stories, facts, and other useful information.”
After this experience, Like Locals took a pivot and turned it into their core product, named “Footprints”.
Despite the recent launch, Like Locals already has 90 “footprints” to chose from across the three cities.
“In the first three days on the market we can proudly say that more than 500 ‘footprints’ have been completed and that we reached fifth place on the Hungarian AppStore’s travel category,” Csányi noted.
The app specifically targets the new generation preferring authenticity when traveling. “The travel industry is filled with startups trying to find the ‘secret sauce’ that will cater to the Millennials’ needs,” Csányi tells the BBJ.
“We are confident that we’re well-placed to address the desires of Gen Y travelers who seek authentic, affordable, and easily accessible digital travel solutions. Our app bridges the gap between local knowledge and traveling, by crafting locally sourced itineraries that are provided to users for free.”
Travelers also get perks for using the app, offered by local businesses and accommodations. The startup obtained more than 50 pledges from businesses to take part in a three-month trial, cooperating to improve the product and see how users react to the offers.
“We are grateful for our partners for the support and cooperation, especially Amistat Hostels and DNB,” Csányi notes.
Apart from Csányi (CEO) and Los (COO), the core team of the startup comprises business developer and sales expert Ijaz Khan, bringing experience from working at Tutorful, one of the largest online educational platforms in the United Kingdom, and recent addition Laura Brazay, responsible for planning and executing upcoming marketing campaigns.
What will the future bring? “We have just introduced the means to connect to our community, and now we are ready to learn from them and improve our value proposition. [….] We will be testing several hypotheses in the upcoming months with our early adopters,” Csányi explains.
While there is already a short-list of cities for expansion, the company says it wants to listen to their users first.