– a digital platform that connects international tourists with locals who can work as tourist guides.
After four years of operation, including two years of enduring the COVID-19 pandemic, Tubudd has established a vibrant and enthusiastic tour guide community that shares a love for Vietnam and a passion for helping boost Vietnamese tourism.
In fact, there are a number of travel models offering a service of connecting international tourists with locals in major cities in Vietnam such as Hanoi, Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City. Many volunteer clubs have been established with university students as members who are willing to accompany tourists on short trips. However, Tubudd is the first digital platform in Vietnam that connects tourists with local guides.
More than a trip
One summer day in late July, Jeff Vogstad, a Canadian, traveled to Hanoi for the first time with his Singaporean wife Glady Vogstad and their two children. Their one-day sightseeing tour was accompanied by Nguyen Hong Minh, a 30-year-old freelance photographer, whom foreign tourists found in Tubudd.
Hong Minh took the family to explore Hanoi’s Old Quarter, strolling through small alleyways to admire ancient buildings and sample street food in Hanoi, where she was born and raised. Minh also provided guests with information about architecture, history and culture in a close and engaging way from his own perspective and memories.
Along the way, walking from the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the group caught a sudden thunderstorm. Hong Minh quickly whisked guests away from the rain to a cafeteria on Dien Bien Phu Street and took the opportunity to introduce Hanoi’s Flag Tower and Vietnam Military History Museum which are right next door. , two places that were not on their list of destinations.
After the eight-hour visit, Minh received a commensurate salary and a thank you note from the Vogstad family for making their day in Hanoi so special and memorable. She was also praised for her incredible knowledge of history and culture and for her “handling” of the rain.
Minh has been part of Tubudd for 4 years, Minh said the trips not only help visitors explore more of the country and people of Vietnam, but also help local tour guides learn more about the land they live in .
For example, once Minh suggested that a Brazilian tourist buy bamboo dragonflies as souvenirs, she went to the bamboo dragonfly-making village of Thach Xa in Hanoi’s Thach That district, where she got to see how bamboo stalks are transformed into bright and colorful dragonflies. in the skilled hands of local artisans.
Since its official operation in 2018, Tubudd – a variant of “tour buddy”, has served thousands of tourists from many countries around the world to Vietnam while providing additional income to hundreds of young Vietnamese.
With the average price of a tour guide ranging from 5 to 20 USD per hour (about 115,000 – 465,000 VND), depending on foreign language proficiency and other abilities, Tubudd attracts both professional “buddies” and independent.
Not only foreign tourists but also Vietnamese people can use Tubudd’s services to find companions for their adventures. Shortly after the reopening of tourism after COVID-19, Nguyen Thi Anh Van, 43, from Hanoi, took a three-month trip from Mong Cai city in northern Quang Ninh province to to the southernmost province of Ca Mau, during which she was accompanied by a total of 15 Tubudd “buddies” and had unforgettable experiences, such as camping overnight on the beach and tasting native delicacies.
By visiting the Tubudd website or downloading the Tubudd app on a smartphone and selecting the desired destination, date, time and language, users will receive a list of suggested travel companions with their personal information and ratings and reviews from their customers.
Another advantage of the trips offered by Tubudd is the “personalization”, because the customers do not leave in groups for a fixed circuit. Instead, the “buddy” will plan the plan and adjust it based on customer requests or the weather situation.
In addition, Tubudd also offers “workcation” guides, a travel trend combining work and leisure. Since the COVID-19 pandemic was brought under control, many foreigners come to Vietnam for business trips and they took their families with them and stayed there for several weeks. During the stay, they can book “travel companions” as an assistant to plan meetings, travel or take the whole family.
Using technology to optimize ideas
“Diversity, Transparency and Localization” are the three key words Founder and CEO Vu Thi Thai An used to describe Tubudd. Born in 1991, a graduate of the Academy of Journalism and Communication, Thai An is passionate about travel. During his studies abroad in Manchester (England), Thai An met Anthony Cruickshank, an Englishman who was also passionate about tourism and had professional experience in this field.
The duo acknowledged the difficulties and inconvenience foreigners face when traveling to Vietnam themselves. Later, An was introduced to her compatriot Dang Tien Cuong, an information technology engineer who has worked in many large companies in the Republic of and Singapore.
Cuong supported Thai An’s idea of creating an online travel platform. The Tubudd team was created after many cross-border calls overnight. The trio decided to establish Tubudd’s headquarters in Vietnam due to their belief in the potential development of tourism in Vietnam.
During times when cross-border travel business was halted due to COVID-19, Tubudd focused on technology development and domestic market by supporting foreigners stranded in Vietnam due to the pandemic.
Tubudd announces investment from TheVentures (Photo: theleader.vn)
Tubudd has won many domestic and foreign innovative start-up awards, including awards from the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Ho Chi Minh City Youth Entrepreneurship Support Center and the National Administration of Vietnam tourism. In July this year, Tubudd received an investment from TheVentures fund – an investment fund from the Republic of Korea.
Currently, Tubudd is cooperating with foreign language clubs in the universities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, with the aim of providing access to 1,000 qualified “buddies” in 2022. Tubudd also organizes trainings for “buddies” on communication skills, customer service, as well as the necessary knowledge of first aid.
Tubudd plans to categorize and standardize its services into 6 groups: The Adventure Buddy, The Lifestyle Buddy, The Art Buddy, The History & Culture Buddy, The Business Buddy and The Medical & Beauty Buddy.
Source: Nhan Dan