This week we shine the spotlight on a one-of-a-kind company, and its co-founders, and how a love for instant photography lead to a business venture.
Ever wanted to reenact the famous picture of The Beatles crossing Abbey Road, on the cover of their album with the same name? Well you can, except you won't be on Abbey Road, you won't be in London for that matter. You will be in Austria with Thomas and Gilbert and the rest of the PolaWalk team. PolaWalk is the world’s 1st Polaroid Photo Tour. Similar to a traditional photo tour, but with a Polaroid camera. Polaroid cameras allow for instant photography. Both Thomas and Gilbert love the idea of instant photography and showing of the wonders of Austria.PolaWalk was started in 2013 by Thomas Preyer and Gilbert Lechner, both native Austrians, who couldn't imagine living anywhere else but Vienna. Thomas after working for an Austrian company called “The Impossible Project” became enamored with instant photography. The company use to develop instant film out of an old Polaroid fabrication plant. Gilbert has always been fascinated with instant photography, loves the immediate and physical aspect of it. Sharing a common love for instant photography and Vienna it was only right that they start a company. Since their inception they have been guiding tourists and locals alike, showing them the “classic” and/or “urban” sides of Vienna.
A new business can be very stressful, and time consuming to get everything up and running. Quality websites and things of that nature often get overlooked and taken for granted but can have a tremendous impact on the operational structure of the company. PolaWalks chose to partner with TrekkSoft to build the website and serve as a tour and activity management system.
"We started our business with TrekkSoft as the sole booking engine, mainly because it is pretty much the whole package. Payment gateway, booking solution and a great website building tool. So we could focus on growing the business instead of building a website or paying someone to do so."
Focused on providing the best possible experience for guests on their new found business Thomas and Gilbert could not be focus too much of their time on other facets. The intuitive content management system allowed for a simple setup. They decided to use TrekkSoft as their website. “It was actually pretty simple and manageable, even for someone like me who has very few knowledge of coding and building a website. So we didn’t have to integrate TrekkSoft, we built our page with Trekksoft.” Polawalks customized the TrekkSoft platform to look exactly how they wanted it to look. Distinctive colors and fonts gives their website that artistic pop that customers look for. They have also made use of the shop function. This allows them to sell add-ons to their tours, such as cameras, film and even gift packages that guest can give to friends and family.
One of their mantras is to empower their guests with the tools to capture unforgettable moments. This starts with the booking process. guests must be given the right tools from the beginning research stage to the completion of the tour, they must feel comfortable at all times. Said the PolaWalk duo of their new booking and payment system, “The checkout process with TrekkSoft is easy to use and almost frictionless. It is secure and it increases the trust of potential customers.” Website is done and a secure payment system in place Thomas and Gilbert can dedicate time designing itineraries and marketing campaigns to drive guests to PolaWalks.
Tours include a Polaroid Photo Tour of Vienna that shows guests all the popular tourist attractions and sightseeing spots. Also they have a Vienna Urban & Creative tour, where they show guests all of the street art and young and creative parts of Vienna. Its a different part of the city that people are not accustomed to. Also a private tour and a self guided tours for those who just like to be alone. All tours come with a private bilingual tour guide, and a Polaroid camera to use for the trip, which they will teach you how to use so you don't have to have prior knowledge.
At PolaWalks they believe that tourists should create their own souvenirs, instead of buying themed trinkets and baubles at local gift shops. They take pride in assisting guests to find the right angles to get the perfect picture that captures the excitement of the moment. They even have a blog where they share cool experiences of their tours, and provide guests with all the information they need to know about their beloved Vienna. Because at the end of the day its all about freezing life's most precious moments.
Want to see the impact that online booking software can have on your tour or activity company?
Written by Nelson Oduro
Nelson was part of TrekkSoft's marketing team in our New York Office for three years, paying particular attention to the growth of our digital marketing strategy.