Turkish startup Lopeca enables users to 'see' the world via remote smartphone video tours from locals.
The tourism industry has been fundamentally transformed by peer-to-peer platforms such as Airbnb, which enable travellers to book accommodation more directly from each other. There are also numerous services, such as Kate’s Goodness and Scouted, which enable visitors to get tips about their destination directly from the locals who know it best. Now, Lopeca takes it one step further, enabling users to ‘see’ the world, including places they might never get to visit, via remote video tours over smartphones.
Lopeca, which is currently in beta, is recruiting locals to host live walking tours online. Potential guides simply join the growing network, stating what area of their city they feel they could show off best. Remote explorers then get in touch with Lopeca via their website, requesting the place they want to see and when they would like to see it. Lopeca links up matches and handles payment via Paypal, taking 25 percent of the fee — this ranges from USD 4.90 for five minutes to USD 9.90 for 15 minutes. At the allocated time, both users simply connect via Skype, FaceTime or any other platform on their smartphones.
As with many crowdsourced services, Lopeca’s success will depend on how many members it can get signed up and across how broad an area, but there are certainly many potential users. Perhaps the start-up would be wise to partner with an existing company such as Airbnb, enabling visitors to scope out their destination before making a booking?