Tapping into the micro-living trend in Hong Kong, a two-year-old startup named JOYO (formally known as Rent-a-Suitcase) offers a platform that allows customers to rent or loan out travel-related items ranging from suitcases and GoPro action cameras to Wi-Fi devices.
“The money saved on not buying expensive travel items, as well as the income received from loaning out your items, can be put toward funding trips; hence the company’s motto: ‘own less, travel more’,” JOYO founder Rachel Cheung Hiu-tung told the Hong Kong Economic Journal.
Many of JOYO’s customers are young couples and families who often require travel luggage but are not keen on buying the items as they don’t have storage space in their tiny homes.
Hiring, rather then buying, is seen as a solution to meet temporary travel needs.
With JOYO’s online platform, travellers can simply reserve their travel supplies and pick up the items when they need them.
Meanwhile, those who own travel gear can rent out their space-consuming and idled equipment. The company provides free storage service for their rental items.
Operating out of a small space in Causeway Bay, JOYO quickly broke even and has started turning a profit since its first year after launching.
Rental of expensive hi-tech accessories such as GoPro cameras, DJI camera drones, and waterproof 360 cameras has been a hit.
In addition, JOYO now offers short-term use of “glamping” (a portmanteau of glamour and camping; describing a style of camping with amenities and resort-style services) items and even smart pocket translators for its customers.
Eyeing a bigger market for the platform, Cheung revamped the brand, with Tyler Mok, a China market specialist, and Teresa Wan, a market developer joining the company.
JOYO’s latest initiative is the ‘Travel Library’, under which housing estates are used as convenient delivery and pickup points for the rental items.
According to Cheung, the company is planning to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology in their platform. Based on the basic trip information inputted by customers, they can provide customized services including personalized travel advice and itineraries.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Nov 20
Translation by Ben Ng with additional reporting
[Chinese version 中文版]
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