Local alike

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Local alike

Throughout Thailand and other South East Asian Countries, ThailandThailand
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
Project Stage:

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

LocalAlike is a community based online tourism platform. Local Alike is harnessing the experiential travel market and channeling it into building sustainable livelihoods in rural communities. Our model seeks to reverse 3 problems common to Thai rural communities: cultural fading, traditional trade and skills loss, and migration out of villages. Our experienced staff will work closely with small villages to combine community based travel and community development programs. The LocalAlike model broadens perspectives for villagers and traveliers alike while also delivering long-lasting social impact. With a modest investment of 3 million Thai baht, LocalAlike will break even in 3 years but tranform lives for years to come.

โลโค่อไลค์สนับสนุนการท่องเที่ยวเชิงประสบการณ์และใช้การท่องเที่ยวเป็นเครื่องมือในการพัฒนาท้องถิ่นอย่างยั่งยืน โดยเราคาดหวังว่าจะสามารถเป็นส่วนหนึ่งที่จะช่วยอนุรักษ์วัฒนธรรมท้องถิ่น สร้างงานและรายได้ให้กับชุมชน

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Many local villagers in Thailand want to sell their products and promote their local businesses, but do not have the means to do so. Because they lack some of the necessary technology, IT, language, or education skills, they are unable to share their skills and business successfully and as a result the communities suffer. They often sell products to middlemen in surrounding areas and thus, a sustainable profit is rarely made. They do not have a consistent clientele and they lack the means to create this consistency. We hope to provide a sustainable and fair outlet for these businesses’ to promote their products and services. Currently, the problem is significantly large. We encountered a number of businesses in Thailand that lack economic gain due to the lack of resources and knowledge for marketing their services. One business in particular is Tea Plantation in the north of Chiang Rai. The villagers offer tent camping, which situated on tent platforms overlooking the city on the slopes of the plantation. The experience this business provides is unique and enjoyable, yet they do not attract many tourists. Whether it is the location or the lack of advertising that causes this business to suffer, the local owners reached out to our team members for help.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

● We craete a reliable platform for marketing local tourisms to target customers: Our platform will share all services we offer to target customers in a unique and engaging way. The website will promote local tourism services using a compelling story based on real experiences of each community. The video format will bring a sense of self to customers so that they can properly imagine cultural immersion and visiting expectations. Moreover, the website will offer all necessary information such as price, direction, available activities, guided tour information, and an online booking service platform for all the offerings. ● We build network with locals and work closely with them in setting standards and in developing their communities: the Local alike team prioritizes valuing and respecting the culture of each community above all else. We aim to work together with local people to promote their communities while preserving their heritage and unique culture. Communities that want to be listed on Local alike's website will have to ensure that their homestays meet the standard and that the hosts understand the guidelines we provide. We also work with villagers to identify any existing issues that the community is looking to solve in order to become stronger. ● We generate attractive and unique content of each community: Local alike will use a video format to deliver content and communicate between the locals and tourists. Local alike has a special campaign in which we will work with community-minded photography and filmmaking students to market these communities to the rest of the world. This activity allows students to get hands-on experience and develop content for their master portfolio, as well as providing local communities an opportunity to market themselves. ● We raise awareness amongst customers: We support and promote educational tourism. This includes study tours for travelers, international and domestic university students (including language schools, school excursions and exchange programs), etc.. Local alike acknowledges that the best way to preserve the heritage culture of the locals, visitors must have a clear sense of what the place is and who the people are.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Begining of 2013, we started working with 4 pilot communities in Chiangrai where we have been communitung ever since. We went in and set a development plan and marketing plan with each community. Once the development was done and the package tous were created, we produced contents (Videos, pictures, activities, development details) of these 4 (Suan Pa, 4000Rai, Mae Salong, and Ja Bu See homestay). In term of the community issue, we successfully implemented waste management at Suan Pa homestay. Lastly, we organized test trips to Chiangrai with a goal of having toursists see what we have been doign with locals and to provide direct feedbacks to locals so that they can further develop their tourism and community. From the test trip, there were 100 visitors visiting and 53,490 THB income generated. Here are sample of our works: http://youtu.be/XOyseLAhVZE

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Income generation: The primary benefit of the community-based tourism, homestay/eco-tourism project is increased income within the community and the resulting development of the villageʼs economy. Homestay providers and eco-tourism operators will be able to generate income through offering their services. Other members of the community associated with the project will also be able to generate income through auxiliary services (meals, transport, laundry services, handicrafts etc.). For example, the homestay operating in the village of MaeSalong generates an estimated 10,000 baht each year from the accommodation services, handmade items and food. Once the Local alike platform has been suitably established in the market, we expect a similar level of income generation. Showcase Local Culture & Preserve Traditions: The central focus of local alike’s community-based tourism activities is the promotion of cultural heritage and community history. The platform would also allow community members to use their traditional skills and knowledge, including knowledge of local history, flora and fauna, handicrafts and traditional dishes. With a steady stream of tourists, locals are able to continue practicing their local traditions and ensure that this knowledge is passed on to future generations. This focus would allow the community to introduce visitors to their customs and practices and foster a greater sense of pride in their traditions. It would also reinforce the idea that their beliefs are of importance and worth preserving for future generations. Tourism Related Education: For any community to be able to receive guests from overseas, a variety of training processes will need to be implemented to improve the effectiveness of services offered and lead the training of the system operators. These skill improvements could potentially include language assistance (strengthening Thai skills and introducing English skills), cultural awareness (an increased understanding of the attitudes of tourists from other cultures) & basic accounting skills (allowing them to successfully manage income and expenses of the business. Environmental conservation awareness and existing social issue solving: Natural environment surrounding the members of Local alike’s community has been incorporated into a wide variety of the activities offered to tourists and is an important part of the villageʼs future success. In order to preserve this precious resource, the community will need to ensure they have the skills and knowledge required to manage it sustainably.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

We estimate our start-up costs to be 3,142,000 THB. 90% of start-up costs are operating costs and 10 % are marketing. The majority of operating costs, 90 % are attributed to building the database of homestays through connecting with villagers and building the relationships necessary to start operating successful homestays. The remaining 10 % of start up operating costs are attributed to building and maintaining the website, alpha testing, and expanding the platform. Our income statement was generated assuming we raise 2,000,000 THB using indigogo and kickstarter campaigns, or other interest free fundraising platforms in year 1 and 2 which until now we already secured 500,000 THB from BanPu competition, UnLtd social entreprise competition, and other fundraising activities such as design thinking workshop. Using these projections we will break even in year 4, making a profit of 1,139,000 THB. COGS represents 4% of revenue and other management fee accounts for 15% of service charged.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

There are couple private organizations provide homestays options in Thailand. The problems we see from this existing service are as follows; no detailed homestay or activity profiles; no photos and limited variety. These sites also lack the opportunity to secure your reservation and/or no booking confirmation is provided. The major opportunity we see, is the need for one website to feature all affordable, authentic and reliable homestays in Thailand. 1. http://www.homestaybooking.com/homestay-thailand The website is not attractive. The price charged is expensive. No real-time booking confirmation, no detailed profiles of the properties 2.http://homestayinthailand.com/Thailand-vacations/Thailand_Homestay_Packages/Thailand-Homestay-Packages.htm The website provides an option to book but no photos. The options for homestays are limited. Besides these two organization, there is one NGOs called CBT-I whose work is helping develop their hometsay business. Local alike approached this organization and we will bve working to develop and promote community-based tourism together where CBT-I provides us CBTs database and contents, and Local alike brings its marketing expertise and booking platform.

Founding Story

In 2012, after completing his MBA at Presidio Graduate School, Pai Somsak Boonkam returned home to Thailand, where he began working with the hill tribe villagers at Baan Suan Par and 4000 Rai campsite in Chiang Rai, Northern Thailand. His goal was to assist the villagers in developing their homestay businesses. While doing this work, Pai met and began collaborating with California native, Natalie Carr, who was also working with the hill tribe villagers. Both were impressed by the villagers’ excitement, determination to succeed, and motivation to improve the quality of their lives. The villagers possess various skilled cultural practices, such as basket weaving, cooking, and maintaining tea plantations with which they sustain their livelihoods. However, the ability of the villagers to leverage these skills into sustainable incomes limited due to the difficulties they face in promoting these businesses beyond their village. This has led to a gap between the villagers’ skill levels and the income they receive for such skills. With the intention of closing this gap, Pai and Natalie connected three additional Thailand natives, Soramist,Suratchana, and Thanapong . Together we formed Local alike. In late 2012 Local alike entered and won funding from the BanPu Champions for Change competition, a competition designed to encourage and support social enterprises developed to solve social and environmental problems in Thailand. With this funding, we were able to move forward and began piloting homestays in Saun Pa Villiage and 4000 Rai.





Local alike


, Throughout Thailand and other South East Asian Countries