Recently, Backpacking has become a trend in Taiwan. According to Google, 88% of people in Taiwan will look for information online and in every 0.04 seconds there is somebody who is googling for traveling information, not even to mention the searching done by mobile devices. In response to this ever bigger backpacker market, Funliday is using Open Data from the Tourism Bureau of Ministry of Transportation and Communications in Taiwan to help backpackers to get everything prepared before leaving for their destinations. In just a short time, Funliday has become the top choice for travel planning for many people.
Wei-Li Huang, one of the three founders of Funliday said back at the time they launched this service, there were already many traveling apps in the market. However, they felt something is still missing and decided to develop their own app. “When we tried to collect information, problems with POI (Point of Interest) and info updates of tourist spots also surfaced, but at the same time, we found that data quality is also improving. That’s when we thought that we can actually try to work with the government to maintain Open Data and enhance the quality and value of data step by step.”
Huang pointed out that only when data is shared that value is created. The more it is shared and applied, the higher its value becomes. In this process, there has to be someone who is responsible for maintaining and adjusting the data to make sure its value keeps growing. To provide global travel planning services, Funliday has to integrate Open Data from different countries. Through the websites of POI data providers, it is putting together information of POI all over the world, including Taiwan for users to plan their trips by marking their routes on the map.
Without much PR campaigns, only by word-of-mouth, Funliday has had nearly 500,000 downloads in just two years and 40% of users come back to use the service again and more than tens of thousands of people are using the app every single day. Through user-friendly intuitive swipes, one may add their favorite spots to their itineraries and then it is Funliday’s job to plan the trip accordingly. It will also show different transportation means and estimated time to be taken. Any cancellations or increases of destinations, transportation means and estimated time will also be adjusted automatically. There are no worries about transportation means even though there are sudden changes to the plan.
“Planning a trip takes a lot of time. I think we all have the same experience that we want to copy other people’s travel plans that look very appealing to us, right? But there is a lot of information checking about the spots, restaurants, addresses and phone numbers to do. It takes a lot work!” To provide a more intuitive user experience, Funliday works very proactively with bloggers and gives each article a QR code. Whoever finds any article interesting may scan its QR code and turns what’s on the blog into a plan on Funliday. The app will also keep the link of the blog for follow-up checks during the trip.
Also considering that people like to go out with friends, Funliday has also added a co-planning function into the app that the main planner can start a group and has each member of the group look for information and plan the trip together. It makes trip-planning even more efficient and very popular with young people, especially college students.
Huang said that they are working hard to take Funliday to the next level. “We are now working with Cathay Pacific on a special ticketing package and the Funliday web version will also be available soon by the end of the year.” In addition to Taiwan and Hong Kong where most downloads come from, Funliday would like to see more international users joining in after Funliday in Korean and Japanese are launched. Forging ahead in the future, Funliday would like to become a platform for exchanges where everyone can share his/her travel stories. “I believe that it will be another turning point for Funliday!”