We've all been there: You excitedly start to plan a vacation to some place you've never been, but once you get into the thick of it, you realize that figuring out what to do, let alone making bookings for everything from restaurants to museums to hotels to tours, is exhausting business.
That's the problem that Peek.com, a San Francisco startup that launched today, is trying to solve. Aiming to be a traveler's one-stop shop for everything from identifying what to do when on the road to booking to special recommendations for how to spend a "perfect day," the service has the potential to win over the hearts and minds of a lot of people fed up with the overwhelming confusion that can come from trying to plan a trip.
According to co-founder Ruzwana Bashir, the average leisure traveler invests seven hours to plan a trip. That includes exploring more than 20 different Web sites, reading various guidebooks, and talking to friends and relatives about where they're going.
Yet, despite what Bashir said is a $26 billion annual market for entertainment and activities in the United States alone, there are very few places for travelers to go to get all the information they want about where they're going, and to make the reservations and bookings they need.
Peek, which has raised $1.4 million from investors like Twitter and Square founder Jack Dorsey, Google's Eric Schmidt, SV Angel, and Khosla Ventures, is setting out to jump right into that perceived void. At launch, it's offering its services in California and Hawaii, and features more than 500 different destinations and suggestions in those two states. It plans to expand into more regions after that.
For each specific location -- like San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, and the like -- Peek offers a Top 10 "picks" list of things to do. In San Francisco, that list includes the Golden Gate Bridge, SFMOMA, Alcatraz, Union Square, the cable cars, Golden Gate Park, Chinatown, and so on.
Then it offers several categories of specific things to do, such as food and wine; arts and culture; adventures; sights; and so on. As well, there's a special "Perfect Day" suggestion by a notable local covering a full day's activities from that person's perspective.
Booking activities, of course, is at the heart of Peek's business. For one, that's where it will bring in revenue. Bahir said the company earns a commission of between 15 percent and 30 percent on each booking. But beyond its business plan, Peek hopes that being a portal for easy booking of a wide variety of things to do in each location is what will set it apart from any competitors.
Ultimately, the company is betting that significant numbers of vacationers will choose to forgo other travel sites like TripAdvisor and others that provide some elements of the service but not the whole package. The more people who use Peek to book, the more money the site will make.