At Kolu, we believe that travel should be about more than the geofilter applied to the photo you take when your flight touches down. Early on, our team noticed that humans have created and use these incredible apps every single day, but we do so at the cost of the real connectivity to one another that the same apps were always meant to enable. So, we asked ourselves: What if we could find a way to utilize technology and, as Pico Iyer once said of travel, "rescue the humanity of places"?
Kolu meets at that intersection; The intersection of travel and technology. But, for us, "kolu" means even more than finding that lost sense of connection. As passionate travelers ourselves, we believe that kolu is a pledge to create a more connected and cultured world by turning everyday trips into real experiences. Only then can we truly rescue the humanity of places and travel with abandon. We believe in the importance of traveling with a like-minded individual...
How Do Kolu’s Prices Work?
Travelers will be paying on a per-hour basis. There is a multiplier built into each local guide’s hourly rate, ensuring that travelers pay based on the individual size of the group. With this multiplier, the travelers pay less per person as the group size increases. The guide receives 100% of their tips. Local guides must set their rate between a minimum of $8 per hour and a maximum of $50 per hour for a given tour booking. Tour bookings have four different group sizes:
Solo - There is no multiplier applied to this group size. Solo trips only include the single traveler and the guide. If a one-hour tour with a guide of $10 per hour is booked, the traveler pays $10.
Small - There is a 1.96x multiplier applied to this group size. Small trips include the 2-3 travelers and the guide. If a one-hour tour with a guide of $10 per hour is booked, the total cost is $19.60.
Medium - There is a 2.65x multiplier applied to this group size. Medium trips include 4-6 travelers and the guide. If a one-hour tour with a guide of $10 per hour is booked, the total cost is $26.5.
Large - There is a 3x multiplier applied to this group size. Large trips include 7-8 travelers and the guide. If a one-hour tour with a guide of $10 per hour is booked, the total cost is $30.
How Do Guides Get Paid?
Kolu uses Stripe to process all payments, similar to PayPal. Guides will create Stripe accounts and receive payments there. Kolu does not store any credit card information from travelers or guides as each guide must create a Stripe account.
Solo - Kolu takes a 20% commission from each solo tour booking and the guide receives 80%.
Small (2-3 people) - Kolu takes a 25% commission from each tour booking and the guide receives 75%.
Medium (4-6 people) - Kolu takes a 30% commission from each tour booking and the guide receives 70%.
Large (7-8 people) - Kolu takes a 35% commission from each tour booking and the guide receives 65%.
Is Using Kolu Safe?
Absolutely. Kolu’s partnership with SafeTrek allows them to offer a button in-app, which users (both travelers and guides) have the option to press if they ever feel unsafe on a given tour. If a user is feeling unsafe, they hold their thumb down on the safety button. When the user is safe, they release their thumb and type in a four-digit pin number. If the situation turns for the worse and the user needs help, they simply release their thumb without typing in their pin and the local police will be notified of the traveler or guide’s location, name, and the nature of the emergency.
Additionally, Kolu partners with Checkr, which is a company that provides secured background screenings for all local guides that operate on behalf of the company. Checkr also provides the same background screenings for other sharing economy companies.
How Are Travelers Matched With Guides?
What makes Kolu unique is our matching algorithm that matches travelers with local guides based travel interests, age, guide rating, and number of tours conducted. Each user will choose three of the following 12 interest categories they select when creating their passport to ensure alignment with the guide and traveler. There are three levels to that the algorithm matches travelers and guides:
Gold – If the match is 100% - 85% the badge that displays the guide’s hourly rate will be gold.
Silver – If the match is 84.99% - 70% the badge that displays the guide’s hourly rate will be silver.
Bronze – If the match is 69.99& - 50% the badge that displays the guide’s hourly rate will be gold.
Any match under 50% will not be shown.
We believe in the importance of traveling with a like-minded individual... Let's say that Samantha is traveling to Brooklyn, New York next week. She's 22 years old and looking to take advantage of her time there, since being a college student doesn't allow her to travel too often. Samantha's three travel interests are Drinks & Nightlife, Adventure, and Sight Seeing. Ashlie is a local Kolu guide who was born and raised in Brooklyn. She is 23 years old and currently studies at NYU in the city. Conveniently, Ashlie's interests are also Drinks & Nightlife, Adventure, and Sight Seeing. Ashley has also previously given one tour as a local Kolu guide, in which she was given a 5-star rating.
Samantha and Ashlie have a golden Kolu match. The primary reason why they aren't 100% compatible, is because Ashlie has only completed one tour, which adds an element of unpredictability that we want to make sure we account for. When Samantha goes to look for a local Kolu guide on her mobile app, Ashlie will be filtered and displayed as a Top Recommendation, which allows Samantha to find and chat with somebody who can show her just what she's looking for during her visit to New York.