Less packing goes a long way

Less packing goes a long way
Mr Johnbosco Ng (left) and Mr Jonathan Lee have teamed up for a unique travel service for frequent travellers to Singapore which offers greater convenience.

Frequent travellers to Singapore can bid farewell to long check-in queues if they choose a unique travel service provided by a local start-up.

Packnada, founded by entrepreneurs Jonathan Lee, 26, and Johnbosco Ng, 28, aims to provide greater convenience for travellers by reducing the need to check in bulky luggage.

After registering for the service, travellers will receive a specialised laundry bag. They can deposit up to 20 items of clothing in it and leave it with their hotel concierge. Packnada will pick up the bag, wash the items and store them for up to three months.

On their next visit to Singapore, the travellers do not need to check in suitcases filled with clothes but can get the clothes they have stored with Packnada delivered to their hotel.

A flat fee of US$99 (S$136) is charged for each trip, regardless of the number of items sent for laundry or the period of time the clothes are stored. This, instead of a monthly subscription fee, offers travellers greater flexibility as the number of flights they take vary from month to month.

Mr Lee said he and Mr Ng hit on the idea for Packnada when they were stuck in a long immigration queue at Hong Kong International Airport in 2012, and thought how convenient it would be if they did not have to check-in luggage.

"We are big proponents of cloud storage, so we wanted to apply the same concept to clothes." Officially launched in 2013, the company was co-funded by Spring Singapore's Ace Startup Grant. The initial capital needed was about $10,000,

with the grant funding 70 per cent of the cost.

Mr Lee said they have not broken even yet, but are thinking of expanding into other regional countries, as they feel the business has potential. They are also looking into using an app made by a team of students from Temasek Polytechnic, Mr Ng's alma mater, to provide customers with access on the go.

Tourism experts said the service was innovative, and could take off if marketed the right way, as Singapore is a major business hub with a large base of corporate travellers. But they noted that seasoned travellers would already have little tips and tricks to work around the hassle of travelling.

Mr Christopher Khoo, managing director of MasterConsult Services, a hospitality and leisure consulting service, said: "And what happens if I next have to go to KL (Kuala Lumpur) or Jakarta instead, assuming I'm based in Bangkok, and my favourite suit and shoes are in Singapore?

"Still, it's a lucrative niche and, if done right, may very well be the laundromat and storage facility of choice for businessmen."

isaacneo@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on March 9 2015.
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