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Filipino startup bares tech updates, celebrates gains

Tripkada co-founders April Cuenca (CEO) and Ragde Falcis (CFO) at the Tripkada Travel Meet-up: The iOS Launch

Tripkada, the first and fastest-growing trip-pooling platform in the Philippines, recently launched its new app for iOS devices while giving partners and investors to network with the start-up and its growing travel community at its first travel meet-up for the year.

Tripkada co-founder and CEO April Cuenca presented stakeholder updates, revealing that the platform now hosts an average of 50 to 150 trips weekly barring weather and natural calamities. Its community to date has more than 10,000 travellers and over 300 organisers, with more than 800 applications currently underway.

She described the vetting procedure for organisers as ‘rigorous’; reviews from clients verified by the company enforce a continuous screening process even after organisers have passed training in first aid, life support, emergency response and traveller ethics.

She also fielded questions concerned with the tour offerings of the platform, sharing that Tripkada found bicycle tours “expensive” because of the protocol necessary to conduct them.

“Biking tour organisers have to have a support vehicle and certified first-aid respondents on board,” she explained. “Biking requires endurance – cyclists travel through dangerous trails and open roads. That said, while bicycle tours are still on the table, we currently have motorcycle tours on the platform.”

She discussed the start-up’s plans to expand trip-pooling all over the country, an archipelago of more than 7,100 islands. “We are working to connect with airlines right now so that we can provide tour bundles with flights included to places like Batanes, Siargao, Palawan and Cebu,” she said.

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Trip-joining made easy and convenient

Tripkada co-founder and CTO Ragde Falcis, said: “The new iOS app, which is built for consumers or ‘joiners,’ allows users to view, book, record, bookmark and review trips organised by verified organisers.”

“Travellers can now get the trip-joiner app from either iTunes or Google Play. Tour organisers can download the Android organiser app, but if you’re using an iOS device you can still create trips using the web version, which joiners can also use,” he added.

Cuenca also shared an important app update: “While we are working to launch this feature fully and officially in the near future, it’s already possible to book trips that require air travel through Tripkada. If you open our app and explore it, you should be able to find our Skyscanner menu.”

Meanwhile, the event also showcased the Facebook messenger chatbot. Originally activated in Q4 2017, its capabilities are available only for joiners. “If you’re on free mobile internet data and want to browse our full trip menu, or if you want someone to talk you through the booking process, you can access our messenger assistant,” Cuenca said.

The last revelation of the night was that the start-up platform now allows joiners to use PayPal for credit and debit payments as well as TagCash for mobile wallet transactions. These are on top of Dragonpay-facilitated money transfers as well as online and offline bank deposits which are already available payment options in the Philippines, a country that continues to rely on cash and offline transactions.

Note: Travel Daily is a media sponsor of Tripkada Travel Meet-up: The iOS Launch.

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