The last few months have been unprecedented, with the COVID-19 crisis affecting the livelihoods of millions of people across the globe. We, like you, are working hard, adapting our approach in response to the changing developments around the globe. And we are putting plans in place to be ready for when the recovery happens. Unfortunately, all of this will get worse before it gets better. And it will take longer than we all desire. There is no simple playbook, or magic wand or silver bullet for these times. But, we will get through this.
There could be hundreds of thousands of business failures globally simply due to changes in attitudes among consumers. Many people may never get back to the carefree mindset they held in 2019. The long-term effects of the resulting economic meltdown from this pandemic will be unlike anything people have experienced since the Great Depression and it may very well affect how they budget and spend their money going forward. But it's not all doom and gloom.
Startups will emerge offering something the big companies can’t. New platforms come up all the time. To be honest, most fail. So why even bother? Investing in a startup that serves the hospitality industry seems nuts right now. And maybe it is.
People around the world decide on destinations and hotels without any information other than that provided by the website and online reviews. In our opinion, there is still a place for an app that provides a place for all of those people to share their experiences and offer guidance for others who may be considering those travel options. There is still an opportunity to fix unreliable reviews and zoom in on recommendations by friends. Not just strangers on the internet.
So here we are, somewhere in the woods, building a privacy-first travel app with amazing location-based app experiences.
When will we unlock the world from this Coronavirus? No idea! The pandemic will, no doubt, change the world forever. Don't ask us for predictions but maybe it's fair to assume people will still want to eat out and explore the world.
With these unexpected circumstances, we are taking a huge risk. It's not the best time in history to be the founder of a travel startup. We understand the game and we don't expect to be bailed out, or supported by adventurous investors. We only need to prove we can stay focussed on our new app, keep the burn rate as low as possible, and excite other entrepreneurs to join our mission impossible.
Most people use and will continue to use apps like TripAdvisor and Instagram to find new places to live life. Over the past decade, we ended up with a top thousand of hotels & restaurants we would want to experience. We have been running a site that showcases them and we have build up a community of seventy thousand followers, not sure they are all real fans but they at least "liked" what we do.
However, when we actually visit a destination we researched extensively, we often have no clue which places to try first. We fall back on free apps like Google Maps or TripAdvisor, well knowing that because they are free, we are the product and they sell all of our data to advertisers. No bad feelings about that, that's just the way their business models work. We choose to let Instagram fuel our fear of missing out while teasing us with too-good-to-be-true lifestyles. That's fine.
But, all of them failed on us to do one simple thing: see all the nearby places that we and the people we follow have featured on our social media accounts. None of those apps help us discover these places when we are actually there. Imagine these places showing up only when you visit that area. Unlike Instagram, they only become visible when you are nearby by these recommended places. None of those apps made it easy to remember what is nearby and how to easily call to make a reservation. As we assumed there must be a way to avoid building an app to do exactly this, we downloaded pretty much every single travel app, hundreds of them, to verify if there was already a solution out there. In short, nope, none. Ok, maybe one or two, but none that gave us the user interface or experience we want.
So yeah, we started building an app that, in our opinion has a better design. We have added features that make it special. Sure, the coronavirus has brought the global economy to a standstill, but instead of rebuilding a broken system, we explore how we can build it back, better. At least, that is what we try to do.
Over the long term, we plan to continue doing what we do best. Doing the things that don't scale. Leverage recommendations to attract more users and reward those sharing quality content. We take the upvote button and turn it into a token transfer. Each upvote earns you one LTL Token. Your wallet will be automatically created and you will receive a warm welcome of hundred LTL Tokens.
The first use-case of these LTL tokens is to plant trees. It helps us all to stay focused on the important things in life. Over time, the increasing number of users could drive more visitors and help us grow more trees. To make this strategy work, we will have to make sure that the user experience is ten times better than any of the bailed-out corporations that rule the world. The right technology will help, but it will have to fit in with the features our users want. So we need you to stick around, wait till we launch and give us unfiltered feedback to reach our vision.
Challenge accepted. Stay safe, take care of yourself and your family.