In our latest Meet & Greet, our editor chats to Mun Foong, founder of Malaysian travel startup WanderZoom, which connects travellers with local photographers…
When did you start WanderZoom, and why? What’s the story behind the idea?
The idea was first conceived during a trip to Bali in 2013 and subsequently during my honeymoon in Europe the year after. On top of spending hours looking for photographers, we also encountered some unpleasant experiences. One photographer postponed the shoot to another day without confirming with us and another delivered only less than half the promised photos. I figured that there should be an easier way of getting our photos done and I’ve been working on the idea full time since then!
Who are your target customers? I’m assuming this would be a luxury thing, with a strong focus on weddings/honeymoons?
Photography used to be a ‘luxury’ service back in those days when people only hired a photographer for their once-in-a-lifetime event – Wedding. Nowadays, we see an increased demand from families who are hiring photographers to capture their family trips, couples traveling on a special occasion, and friends who haven’t seen each other in a while and are on a trip together. Hence, our focus isn’t just weddings and honeymoons but families and friends too!
How do you select your partner photographers?
We put a high emphasis on quality as well as the personalities of our photographers. As we get many applications from photographers worldwide, our team will perform due diligence on the photographers by vetting through their portfolios, social media accounts and through forums – to see if their shooting style is what we are looking for.
What’s the most unusual request you’ve had from a customer? Are there any requests you would turn down, or is it “anything goes”?
We haven’t yet received any extraordinary or outrageous requests thus far though we will try to accommodate most requests so long as they are reasonable and not dodgy. We have however had the pleasure in the past of arranging for a couple of pregnancy shoots for our customers on a request basis.
What challenges have you encountered whilst establishing WanderZoom?
The beginning was the toughest period for us as WanderZoom was just an idea and it was difficult getting photographers to list with us. We were, and still are a small company and at that time we didn’t even have a website up and running which made it even more difficult convincing photographers about an abstract idea. It was only after the beta launch of WanderZoom with our pioneer photographers did this process become easier as we had something concrete to show our potential partner photographers.
You’re the first Malaysian company we’ve featured – tell us more about Malaysia’s travel startup scene.
We may not be an authority in the travel startup scene but from the experience which we have garnered since launch, we do see this as a very exciting space to be in at the moment. With Asia being the upcoming hotspot for investors, we see many emerging travel startups that are innovative and are providing value to users. Some of the verticals include trip planning – accommodation, transportation(ground/air), local tours/activities and etcetera. These startups are creating a lot of excitement as people nowadays are more tech-savvy and always on the lookout for new experiences in a hassle-free environment.
Photography travel is a fast-growing trend – tell us how you see the future of this particular sector.
It is undeniable that technology is slowly shaping consumer behaviour and expectations. While some may argue that selfie sticks are our biggest competitor, we are keeping abreast of more advanced technology like drone photography as well as the latest trends in photography in order to add value to our clients and offerings.
Big thanks to Mun Foong for taking the time to answer our questions! To find out more about WanderZoom, visit https://wanderzoom.co/