Hackernoon logoTraction channels I’ve tried for our travel startup by@emresemerciolu

Traction channels I’ve tried for our travel startup

Emre Semercioğlu Hacker Noon profile picture

@emresemercioluEmre Semercioğlu

Head of Market Growth

We have cofounded a travel startup 6 months ago and i am just confused about how to find the best traction channel.

These days i am reading “Traction” book written by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares. Book is really a good guide to understand the basics.

I have tried several channels to get attraction and reached a point but now we need some more powerful channels.

Let me tell you shortly what we do and it would be easier to understand the situation.

We are a marketplace which connects travelers and locals through unique local experiences and tours hosted by locals of the city. (You can check it out . www.localguddy.com )

It is simple locals create their own tours & experiences and make money in their free time by being half guide and half friend for travelers.

They select one of the below guddy types while creating a tour:

1) Local Guddy: Shows you the city with its all the hidden spots, views, gardens and must see places.

2) Food Walker: Shows the best places in the city to taste local foods in several hours

3) Pub Crawler: Shows the nigthlife of the city with its the best pubs and clubs.

4) Hommy Chef: Cooks homemade local foods at home and host travelers for a dinner or a breakfast.

We have +400 tours in more than 40 countries so far.

For the traction channels, the main challenge is to reach the people who are travelling and planning to travel soon:

I will list the traction channels i have tried and comment if they worked or not for me. Please comment the traction channels you tried in travel sector or the channels you would recommend.

1-) Facebook Ads:

  • Image is really important. (for example if i use a nice looking girl in the image CPC is under $0.10, ironic.)
  • Right side ads are much cheaper than news feed ads ( currently i use only right side ads.)
  • Auidience network and instant article ads didn’t work at all. Waste of money. A funny thing about audience network: Facebook ads manager was saying that there were 1700 clicks that week to my website through audience network, but google analytics was saying that there were only 1500 clicks totally for that week LOL :)People from audience network was leaving the website before even Google analytics tag is loaded :)
  • At the beginning, let facebook arrange your ad’s bid automatically. After reaching 500–1000 people if your relevance score is under 6–7, close that ad and reopen with different image or targetting.
  • Be clear with your message at ads and don’t mislead the visitors. Because don’t forget your aim is not to make people visit your website, your aim is to convert your visitors into customers.

2-) Google Adwords:

  • I still burn my money on google adwords but what i learnt so far:
  • Create campaigns separately for Search Network and Display ads.
  • Display ads didn’t work for me so far but i still try it.
  • Search network is a better option to reach the people who are travelling to a location compared to Display ads. Because people will search for like “London local guided tours” if they are interested in a tour in london. Don’t upset at the beginning because some people will click your link by mistake, so you need to burn some money to see if it works or not with higher numbers of clicks.
  • Video ads didn’t work for me but i will try it in the following weeks again with a new video that we recorded in Berlin. This time i will target some specific travel channels (you can target the channels and even videos with the names)
  • Definitely Use “Keywords > Search Terms” and add the ones which are not related to your ad or burns a lot of money into “negative keywords”

3-) Travel bloggers:

Still working on it and i think building affiliate partnerships can be a hack in this market.

Will see and keep you posted. If you have contacts or ideas please let me know!

4-) Travel websites, platforms:

Partnering with other travel websites like (accommodation, transportation etc.) is going to be helpful for both of you. You will not lose anything by partnering with one more platform so keep building partnerships :)

For example recently we partnered with Erasmusinn and we managed to get really good traction from there because most of the users were matching with our target audience.

5-) Existing Platforms like Facebook, Instagram..

  • Facebook groups work perfectly! ( not spamming, just one message to inform people in the related group)
  • Post at least once on facebook, instagram, twitter and pinterest daily.
  • Yesterday, on Instagram i searched barcelona airport and asked some people if they would be interested in tours in Barcelona. i just gave it a try and will see the results in couple of days :)
  • Maybe writing blogs for other websites and asking them if it is okay to mention about your new website. ( just came to my mind while writing this and will try it this week)

6-) Influencer Marketing:

I wanted to give it a try. And worked with an influencer. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money. I found several platforms ( Influanza , famebit etc. ) where you can reach influencers who are already willing to work with you. We gave a free tour to an instagram influencer in return, she mentioned about us on her instagram account. hmm it didn’t work that much for us:/ But i think the problem was that there are many fake followers on instagram so next time i will try with a blogger or vlogger and also will try to work with multiple micro influencers. I will keep you posted.

7-) Viral Marketing:

Before new year’s eve, we have shot about 170 personal videos for some of our guddies to celebrate their new years. Each video’s length were around 50–60 secs. And it took really days for us to record each videos (You can see them on our youtube channel)

And i posted them on facebook, twitter and tagged our users. We also sent them via email. Some of our users shared the video and send us really nice messages. We regained some of our old users. 
But these videos didn’t meet with our expectations. We thought this will be a day to remember for our startup, and we will grow viral, we will gain thousands of users.. of course we didn’t :)

I would recommend any startups to make these kind of projects to make your community happy but don’t expect a big change.

No matters which traction channel you will use, you will somehow manage to get visitors into your website. Don’t forget to track your users in your website:

  • At the beginning use Website Visitor Recording tools. Later you can switch to heatmaps.
  • Use UTM builder for your links at ads.
  • Use an analytics tools like Google analytics, Amplitude, Rakam etc.

Share your experiences about getting traction in travel market so we can exchange ideas.
Please let me know if you would be interested in partnering with

You can reach me via [email protected]


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