Buddyz.co is a new B2C travel platform targeting millennials who seek authentic experiences and are willing to explore places off the tourist map with local guides who have intimate knowledge of the area and are passionate about the subject matter.
The person behind the platform is 37 year-old Eric Yap, who holds a degree in economics from the University of Malaya, and who is an experienced traveller himself.
The portal, Buddyz.co (www.buddyz.co), is the result of Yap’s personal frustrations in researching for information on the many hidden gems and local activities in Malaysia and around the world. Information that he could find featured mainly well-known destinations and activities. The platform was built with the purpose of addressing this gap.
Buddyz.co went live on January 24, 2020. Initially, it offered 20 experiences in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Penang and Sabah. Currently, the platform has 27 experiences across the same states; 18 of them are available in Chinese or Cantonese.
Activities on the site include cultural walks, food adventures, outdoor rock climbing and trekking, as well as street photography. What sets Buddyz.co apart is the strong focus on the travel buddy’s – the local expert’s – profile, as well as its emphasis on communicating to customers the buddy’s experience in a particular tour or activity.
According to Yap, buddies are carefully assessed through an interview before they are allowed to market themselves and their activities on the platform.
Buddyz.co selects those who show passion in their work, are skilled at communicating and have “something unique to offer” that “could promote the local living culture”.
Over the coming months, Yap hopes to extend the area the portal covers to other states in Malaysia. He is also seeking to revive local crafts that are in danger of becoming lost traditions, such as shadow puppet making, kris- and wau- (dagger- and kite-) making, as well as bamboo weaving.
Additionally, Yap plans to raise funds to upgrade the platform so buddies can upload videos of themselves and better manage the experiences they offer.
The company is looking to collaborate with tour guide training institutions in Kuala Lumpur to conduct workshops and short courses that will further enhance the skillsets of their buddies.
By end-2020, he aspires to expand Buddyz.co to include activities from Thailand and Indonesia.