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How Jesus Vargas built a profitable local travel companion app in 4 months
3 min read

How Jesus Vargas built a profitable local travel companion app in 4 months

Cancun Tour
How Jesus Vargas built a profitable local travel companion app in 4 months

Hey! What are you working on and what led you to building with no code? Have you got any previous experience of building sites/apps?

Currently I’m working on CancunTour.app
Using no-code (or low-code, as I like to call them) tools, we provide vacation property owners and hosts a fully personalized webapp of their homes, that they share with their guests and provide a fantastic, local experience to their customers. A very important component of the app is that we have an alliance with one of the most established tour operators in Cancun & Riviera Maya, so property owners/hosts can provide tours to their guests, at below-market prices (because we have a huge volume) and make some side money.
Reviews for properties that use the app have gone through the roof.
As you know, travelers are now looking for local experiences, and with the app, we help owners provide those experiences to their guests.

What platforms and tools have you used to build CancunTour.app? How long did it take to build?

I have bootstrapped this business 100%.
The front end is provided through Glide, which is a fantastic tool and the developers are working very fast bringing a lot of more value to their customers.
On the back-end, we use Zapier and Integromat (still using the free versions), Airtable, Google Sheets and Stripe.

Since we have $35 and a $85 US/month/property tiers, the $85 version includes the PRO version of Glide.

I built this in 4 months. Originally, a friend of mine, who has 4–6 vacation rental properties in Cancun, wanted to sell to rent more his yacht, but found that Airbnb Experiences commission (30%) was outrageous.
I did an app for him, and his friends and peers started contacting me and that’s when I saw the opportunity in the market.

How have you gone about growing your user base? What has been most effective?

I planned the v2 launch around a trade show for vacation property rentals that was going to take place here in Cancun. Companies such as VRBO, Airbnb, Expedia, Booking, YourWelcome, etc, had booths in the show.

I spoke with the tour operator, and we had a booth together. Over 1,000 vacation rental hosts and owners came to the show, most of them based in Cancun and Riviera Maya (where we provide most of the tours) and we had a lot of success.

Word of mouth has been the most efficient way. So far, I haven’t started a referral plan (since our product is so cheap), but down the road it’s something I’m planning to do.

Have you monetised it yet and if so, what is your revenue model?

Yes, we have 2 tiers.
The $35 month/house plan uses a free version of Glide. It works for people that have a vacation rental property, but don’t do this as a full time job. The app allows them to easily sell to their guests everything from transportation to and from the airport, a tour to Xcaret, Chichen Itza, and recommend them their favourite places to go, see and eat.

The $85 month/property is focused on larger operations. Usually it’s a condo-hotel, very popular in the area of Playa del Carmen and Tulum. Making the app involves a lot more time, since we integrate their own service providers (transport, tour operators, etc) and using Glide’s PRO version, the webapp is at their own domain.

What has been the hardest part of building, growing or monetising CancunTour.app?

As usual with any DTC product, the hardest part is customer acquisition. All my life I’ve been in marketing/sales, and I think it is a very challenging part. Online channels are too crowded already, and getting very expensive. Offline channels are not measurable and expensive as hell.
Our product has delivered so much value to our customers, that word of mouth has been a life changer.

Another hard part is scaling. Since we run on top of Glide, we are starting to get customers needing specific stuff that we can’t do. That will become a bigger challenge as soon as we get to hundreds of customers.

Do you have any tips on building, growing or monetising a no code product/business?

In my experience with no-code, you really must find a non-technical niche that needs a very basic product that delivers a lot of value. When building with no-code, very quickly you find challenges that out of your control, and there will be a lot of times you won’t be able to do what the customer is asking for.
Understand that saying NO is ok, you need a large customer base to sell to those where you do deliver value and do not need a lot of personalization.
However, since no code is fast and easy to do, don’t fret! Just keep trying and you will find the customers.

Where can we find out more about CancunTour.app connect with you?

You can visit our very basic website in Cancuntour.app, you can take the app for a spin at app.cancuntour.app, send me an email at hola@cancuntour.app or follow me on twitter (bilingual) at @eltintero.

Keep on low-coding, and enjoy the ride! It’s full of very cool, helpful people.

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