The travel industry is so full of opportunity that Australia’s youngest entrepreneur would settle for nothing else.
Bella Tipping, who is 12 years old and lives in the NSW city of Dubbo, has founded Kidzcationz – kidzcationz.com – which is being touted as TripAdvisor for kids.
The new site has already attracted the attention of established online players, has been the subject of articles in the Sydney Morning Herald and Daily Mail Australia, and has spoken with Peter Watson on Travel Writers Radio: Bella Tipping is a 12 year old school girl, who is taking on the might and power of Trip Adviser.
Kidzcationz plans to harness the power that children have in influencing choices in family holidays.
Bella came up with the idea after returning from a family holiday.
As she tells it on the Kidzcationz site: “After our last trip when Mum was putting reviews on TripAdvisor, I asked her if I could also do some reviews of my own. I am too young to register for TripAdvisor so I did them on paper. At the end, we compared reviews and Mum was surprised that my reviews were often so much different to hers and she wondered why.
“For example, while my parents had a luxurious hotel bed, I scored the 20 year old lumpy fold-out sofa which bowed in the middle or collapsed when I sat on it. While they had a vast menu when dining full of tempting delicacies, the kids’ menu had the same old deep fried nuggets, dried out lasagne or tasteless burgers which came with a soft drink – not juice because that’s extra – and a cheap variety of ice cream with runny topping.
“In most cases kids really miss out!”
Bella hopes Kidzcationz.com makes hotels, restaurants and theme parks/attractions, more aware of the needs of kids “because it’s our holiday too!”
Bella’s parents Bernadette and Paul, small business owners themselves, have spent more than AUD 80,000 on setting up Kidzcationz, including trademarking and insurance expenses, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Bella had to submit a detailed business plan before her parents would cooperate.
Children can use avatars instead of providing photos and personal details, to ensure privacy and safety for young online users. The more reviews kids write, the more points they collect to enhance their avatar.
In five years’ time – or even in one or two – who knows what heights the site may have reached?
Written by Peter Needham