Australian girl Bella Tipping, 12, is among the world’s youngest entrepreneurs. Her website, Kidzcationz.com, launched earlier this month, is taking the travel industry by storm. The website allows children to rate hotels, restaurants, theme parks and attractions, based on how well they cater to the younger members of the family.
The website is designed to appeal to young users, targeting children under 18, who are unable to use sites like TripAdvisor. To ensure privacy and safety for young online users, Kidzcationz.com lets them review using avatars instead of any personal details including photos. The more reviews kids write, the more points they collect to enhance their avatar.
The website is designed to run alongside the popular travel review websites like TripAdvisor so that families looking for a holiday destination can get a broad view of how well that venue can support the whole family. The website also allows direct online bookings via Expedia. The website currently covers Australia, New Zealand and USA.
Asked about how it all began, Bella states, “Mum was filling out a TripAdvisor review and she liked a hotel where we had stayed and gave it a great review, but I really didn’t like it at all as it was so adult-focused. The fold-out bed I had was uncomfortable and the kids’ meals were the same old dried-out nuggets and pasta. To me, it was like the parents mattered, but the kids didn’t.” However, when she wanted to put her frustrations on TripAdvisor, she was too young for an account.
After coming up with the idea, Bella’s mum asked her daughter to create a business plan and present her with the proposal as if she was an investor. The proposal prepared by the girl was impressive and Bella’s mum decided to back her daughter’s idea.
What followed was 12 months of researching and designing. A big struggle during this period was finding the right web designer. Bella found the developers often had no idea how to deal with kids. Then there were decisions like colours, design and logo. The parents, small business owners themselves, spent over $80,000 on setting up the website. But, it seems the effort has been worthwhile.
Bella says, “I want kids to write reviews so then if they have a holiday experience that was extremely fun they can put it up, hoping that other kids will read it and have a more fun experience themselves. I hope it’s going to make a difference to the way kids travel.” About starting her website at 12, Bella says, “It’s an amazing experience and I can’t believe it.”
Bella studies at Macquarie Anglican Grammar School, Dubbo, a city west of Sydney, in New South Wales. She has been a champion member of the school debating team. Her hobbies include reading, writing, travel, cars and watching V8 Supercars with her Dad.