Thai startup aspires to be the Airbnb of health clubs

An American-registered startup operating from Bangkok is aiming to become the Airbnb of fitness with an app for health-conscious travelers seeking access to local gyms and health clubs while on their business or pleasure trips.

The firm, Fittripper, is targeting travelers in Southeast Asia first but plans to make its app available worldwide. Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and the resort island of Bali in Indonesia are among the first locations where the app is currently available.

“We are basically the Airbnb or Agoda of fitness. We want to look at those models used in the accommodation space and do it for fitness,” said Rob Krieger, co-founder of Fittripper and a United States citizen living in Bangkok.

Airbnb is one of the world’s most successful startups. The app connects travelers with owners of apartments, homes, and other accommodations, providing an alternative to hotels. Many travelers have embraced the app.

While many four and five-star hotels have fitness centers, budget hotels often do not. And travelers staying at Airbnb accommodations also usually don’t have access to gyms or health clubs in the areas they are visiting.

Fittripper seeks to fill that niche in the market. Krieger said that the company also intends to release a Thai-language version of the app so that locals can also use it if they are traveling in-country or abroad.

“Most people go to Google as the default to check info for all sorts of businesses and services, including gyms, but from experience, these Google-embedded listings can often be mediocre at best for gym and fitness searches in many cities across Asia and Latin America,” said Fittripper’s other co-founder, Carol Zhang.

Zhang said that health club and gym prices are relatively high in Bangkok compared to many other cities. But by working with Thai gyms, they can offer steep discounts to travelers using the Fitripper app.

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