The Travel Marketplace: Under the Hood
In my previous blogs, I have discussed the paradox people find themselves in when thinking about traveling versus actually acting on it and the evolution of the travel industry in general. I find that these two topics go hand in hand; as the travel industry evolves, it simplifies the struggle travelers constantly face.
I have also briefly mentioned how aiTravelers is going to be the catalyst for change in the travel industry. I want to un-layer exactly what it is that completely separates us from other modes of travel booking.
It would only make sense to start from the beginning of the aiTravelers concept. I have been traveling significantly for the past 8 years for work and frequently for leisure as well. Traveling hundreds of thousands of miles and staying nearly a third of the year in hotels has provided me two significant advantages; the ability to book travel semi-smartly and to receive upgrades. It is hard to understand the chaos of the back-end operation in travel... there are several classes of tickets, upgradable rooms, etc. that to the "blind eye" seem like a good deal but typically carry ancillary fees or inability to change a ticket, cancel, and so on. As I started to think about how I would change travel I came up with a few main topics I wanted to concentrate on. First and foremost, I wanted to make my travel booking experience streamlined. Essentially, I wanted to have a 'bot' that would automatically book my accommodations when they drop to a certain price, and make sure it was in my travel time parameters (typically no more than one layover for no more than two hours). Then I wanted to be sure the way I was traveling did not change. Naturally, I got accustomed to the perks that came with being a frequent traveler. Sure, I wanted to help people enjoy these perks too, but I also didn't want to have to keep traveling that amount just to keep them.
Now that my true motives have been revealed, we can dig into what I found in such a Robin Hoodesqe pursuit. The reason we are constantly spending so much on travel is that there are simply too many layers when booking travel and we are paying too many people for the services we are receiving. With that said, the convenience of having access to all travel providers in a single location is irreplaceable. The issue I, and others, have is there are too many options, and what works for me may not work for you…we don't necessarily have a Netflix or LinkedIn for the travel industry. What I mean by that is we don't have a consistent go-to for personalization in travel.
The way that we are combatting this misalignment is creating a subscription-based platform which is going to allow us to have a better view of the traveler. Understanding past behaviors, searches that are left empty, dates of travel, and consistent habits will allow us to better match every traveler with the right experience. We will allow travel suppliers to give travelers the perks that they prefer in order to win their business. We also believe that having a subscription-based platform will allow us to build consistent trust and cut down on the amount of uncertainty people have when searching; we won't have to overwhelm the traveler with options that simply don't fit what they are looking to accomplish.
So, why would the travel suppliers want to cooperate with this type of model? The travel industry as a whole has unique distribution goals. For example, there may be airlines who are working to increase their Trans-Atlantic first-class tickets. Alternatively, there are airlines that are worried about premium economy seats to the southwest US. I used airlines as an example, but hotels are also in a similar situation. The aiTravelers marketplace is going to create "travelers on-demand" for the suppliers. We believe that it will allow for more revenue stability, and perhaps more importantly, in times of economic hardship, these travel providers can accurately determine their traffic and availability as the industry has been severely impacted during every major event over the past 20 years, each time calling for government assistance. Predictability, the option of filling open capacity, and personalizing the travel experience makes this a go-to platform for the suppliers. Keenly we believe having this trifecta of characteristics will help change the industry to become more traveler-centric.
Possibilities are truly endless with a travel marketplace, and we have additional disruptive concepts that we will introduce as we build our community - but it is paramount we take this first step in building the most user-friendly platform, giving our members the streamlined process of booking travel with the luxury of having the direct support of the provider. We encourage everyone to sign-up and share this with your networks as you all will play a pivotal role in making sure this product moves the industry to fit your needs.