Every once in a while, a disruptive platform or app comes along that changes everything in travel. TourDragon gets local tour operators to bid live in a reverse auction for the first time in the history of the travel industry.
Currently, OTAs are just middlemen that connect suppliers and travellers. However, they charge suppliers and travellers commission between 30% and 60%. Suppliers end up losing profit and travellers end up paying double.
Sadly, the local companies cannot compete with the large companies who spend billions on marketing to continue monopolising the online travel market and get the maximum out of travellers and tour operators and give nothing to both.
TourDragon is changing that.
TourDragon is a disruptive travel platform that we believe will reinvent the way Travelers book their holidays online. We are introducing four revolutionary booking methods at our platform:
- A breakthrough reverse auction for tours. Where travellers choose the holiday they love and tour operators can compete live to offer the best price.
- A 0% commission tours and holidays platform.
- A disruptive booking method that enables you to save and receive a better deal even if you have already booked your holiday.
- One request and multiple quotes with just one click in our platform.
TourDragon is founded by Mohamed Yousef an Egyptian entrepreneur, recent recipient of UN World Tourism Organization award for innovation for his Innovative Use of eTourism strategies project, which enables countries to attract more travellers through innovative online techniques.
He has been awarded several times for his innovative contributions to the online travel industry. Yousef is also the founder of Egypt’s one of the first innovative online Travel Agencies Ramasside. As an entrepreneur, Yousef is used to seeking solutions to challenges and always being forward-thinking. He believes that everyone has the potential to break barriers and develop ideas that can improve the tourism sector as well as influence the rest of the world.
“I believe TourDragon will not only change the way we all book our holidays online but will change the entire online travel industry,” Yousef said.
TD speaks with Yousef about the idea behind his start-up, his plans as well as the challenges he has faced.
TD: What was the idea behind your company? In your own words, what problem is your product solving and how did you come across that problem?
MY: First, I love to listen to my customers’ complaints and comments. As the founder of a travel agency in Egypt, I feel travellers’ complaints and comments are a great source to improve and innovate.
I have heard many complaints in the last five years from travellers & friends who own local small travel companies in many different countries, and even begun to see myself in many countries the greed of the large booking platforms when small tour companies or the travel start-ups join them.
Many small local tour companies and travellers in Africa and worldwide have been complaining for the last five years about the extortionate commission they have to pay to the big booking platforms like Viator, GetYourGuide and Expedia who control and monopolise most online travel market worldwide.
Local tour companies and travellers are being charged a high commission between 35% and 65% of the total price which has caused some of them to go bankrupt and close.
The top platforms have no interest in customized services; they treat travellers as if they were robots. This is not the right way to treat travellers.
To solve the main problem of the middlemen we are introducing 0% commission online platform so that small Local Tour Operators in Africa and worldwide can sell at a reasonable price, earn money, get recognition for their services, reputation etc.
Travellers pay less money for a better service. Travellers will be sure that 100% of their money goes to local tour operators and local economies. We create a win-win situation for travellers and local tour operators.
Of course, 0% commission platform will encourage more travel start-ups to and local people to join the tourism industry and create more jobs for locals and women.
Removing the control of the booking platforms from monopolising the tourism industry and allowing local tour operators and customers to use another option that is fair for everyone and sustainable for communities.
TD: What is your personal goal for the product? How will you get there?
MY: It matters to me because I spent the last 16 years working in the tourism field. Started as tour leader then-manager then founder of local successful online travel company then developing online tourism innovations strategies in marketing to help African countries to attract more travellers. I’m very well experienced in online marketing and I have received the UN World Tourism Organization Award for innovation.
I see now the majority of local companies in Egypt, Africa and worldwide suffer and it is not fair that I see most of the local tour operators now have their livelihoods taken away, given no credit for the work they do, experience bankruptcy and closure because of the pressures put on them and simply because local companies cannot compete with such large platforms. This is not fair I feel I have to change that and I have decided and committed to change that.
I felt responsible and challenged to change that. I felt I have to innovate to find a better solution for local tour operators and customers. Sustainable solution that will encourage travel start-up too. A fairer and smarter solution for everyone.
It is totally unacceptable that global economies can be brought to ruin at the cost of increasing the business value of people not interested in improving the lives of people in countries where tourists go; Viator, Expedia & Get Your Guide etc.
TD: What are the challenges have you encountered and how you overcame them?
MY: Funding so I can get more staff and more professional web developers to achieve all of the techniques I want. Funds for marketing and exposure. I believe my business will be a unicorn company so I want to accelerate that.
TD: For anyone looking to follow a similar career path to yours, what advice would you give them?
MY: Dream and start taking practical steps towards your dream even small steps. I believe in learning by doing.