Over the course of 10 weeks, we conceptualized a platform for hiring tour guides online and created a business strategy for operations with high level business model and go-to-market ideas.


Tour Guide Booking made easy!

Tomokobook- class presentation from Atinderpal Singh Saini

Our minimum viable product's website and companion mobile app design



Group project with Hayagriv Sridharan, Jian Liu, Ruth Kim, Sivakanthan Kasinathan, Tomoko Ara.

Project Aspects

Strategy Design, Business Model Conceptualization, Pitching

My Role

Presentation, pitching, business model design

Contributed to research, ideation, rapid prototyping and scripting the pitch


Aug - Dec 2015 (10 weeks)

The Problem

Unmet need

People often fall prefor tourist traps due to "standard tours" provided by travel operators or find it difficult to plan their own trips due to anxieties like FOMO- "Fear Of Missing Out". The existing list of disparate alternative solutions available also, do not help either because they are not customizable beyond an extent such as minimum number of tourists, time, place for meet up, price, etc. Thus, providing no sense of personal touch.

Alternative solutions and their imperfections

Existing travel agencies are operated by large companies that have high operating costs including human resources, marketing and overheads of managing industry regulations. Thus, these agencies need a minimum guarantee for the number of tourists on a route and it becomes difficult to be flexible in their plans. A solution that provides flexibility, security and credibility with distributed costs of operations will be disruptive in nature.


We presented the idea in our Entrepreneurial Strategy (ENTRE 510) class to the MBA students at Foster School Of Business, University Of Washington, Seattle. We exploited the business models of Airbnb, Uber and TripAdvisor for ideation.

The following pictures provide more insights into the whiteboarding activity- key tool throughout the ideation process



We brainstormed and came up with various ideas for either modifying the current offerings by designing a refined strategy for the leaders in travel domain or creating a completely new next generation solution for solving the found problems. We followed the following process and created:

  • Idea to help people travel and experience native cultures
  • Customer profiles (end user persona)
  • List of uncertainties in the system
  • List of feedback necessary to validate the idea
  • User story for pitching

Targeted early adopter customer profiles

Key Attributes of primary users:- Tourist

  • Native New Yorker earning $50,000 per annum as a Designer
  • Want non traditional travel experience
  • Visiting Seattle second time
  • Tags that describe her: Socialite | Foodie | Artisty | Travel Enthusiast


Key Attributes of secondary users:- Tour Guide

  • 21 year old Seattle native, undergraduate student
  • Wants to make money but
  • Does not want a full-time job
  • Tags that describe him: Night-life | Cook | Art & Music-lover | Travel Enthusiast

Use Case Ideation

  • Tourist "Pencil" is traveling to Seattle for the second time and wants a fun, unique experience in this city. She has explored the regular touristy places before and is looking for digging deeper into the native culture.
  • Pencil wants to hire a tourist guide who is safe, secure, affordable and has a charming personality.
  • She uses Tomokobook to find and locate a tour guide who is native to the city, has a good rating and within her budget. She selects "Pen" and the experience begins.

Use case can be found in presentation attached above with tourist- Tomoko and tour guide named- Atinder.

Final Thoughts

We got the opportunity to utilize all aspects of multi-cultural cross-functional thinking necessary for solving global problems. We were grateful for not only to have been able to bring our passion towards creating the solution but also for getting the opportunity to work in a truly global team.

We feel that the solution we designed is truly disruptive and has a great potential for a successful exit strategy. We believe that the strategy we designed is truly implementable with limited resourcing constraints as well.