Bella Tipping is a 12 year old school girl, who is taking on the might and power of Trip Adviser with a brand new travel website aimed at children. The site is called kidzcationz.com – it launched globally on Friday September 4th – and eGlobal’s Peter Watson had a talk with Bella about the site, what started her journey to create it and how she went about it.
When Bella came home from a recent family holiday in the USA she felt that she had plenty to say about her experience, in particular the lack of support and facilities for kids who are on holiday with their parents. In Bella’s words “ It matters, because if kids aren’t having a good time on their holiday, then our parents aren’t either. So when Bella found that she was too young to log on to Trip Adviser, and post up her thoughts on her travels, she really had just two choices, forget about it or find a way to proceed. It is probably at this point that Bella separates from the norm – because many would have just forged a birth date, gained access and posted away – but not Bella.
This young entrepreneur instead identified a gap (a child sized gap) in the travel market and decided to create her own travel review website especially for kids. This started her on a 12 month journey that culminated in the launch of kidzcationz.com and at the same time taught her a lot about starting a business. The first thing she did – at her mothers insistence – was create a business plan; as her mother said “it is no good starting a business if you don’t think it is going to be viable” , so 12 year old Bella put together a business plan, and the plan stacked up and so the business went ahead.
Bella told me that the hardest part was finding a web designer, because a lot of them simply refused to take her seriously and wanted to deal with her mum. But a designer was found and with input from Bella about colours, design and the logo the site was developed and the finished product is available for all to see. Part of the business plan showed a need for a booking engine so the business-savvy teenager did a deal with Expedia, and the site is now affiliated with that global booking giant.
Bella who is still at high school is now quite busy travelling across the country collecting data for her reviews, which she enjoys saying “it gives mum an excuse to take me on extra holidays”; and is keen to have other kids log on to the site, register and start reviewing. “It will help kids become more involved in family decision making” she said, “they will be able to leave honest feedback, based on their own travel experiences.”