Friday, February 26, 2016

This New Travel Startup Will Forever Change How You Book Vacations

This New Travel Startup Will Forever Change How You Book Vacations
This New Travel Startup Will Forever Change How You Book Vacations
TBDee will take you places you never knew you should go. The last time I booked a trip, I was left feeling like I needed a vacation from planning my vacation. There are almost too many websites that travelers have at their disposal - from ones that compare flights like Kayak to ones that give you hotel recommendations like TripAdvisor. And if you don’t consult every single one of them, you feel like you’re missing out on something.

Chances are that you are, all while driving yourself to the brink of insanity. Ian Wang and Daniel Danilatos, co-founders of a new travel startup called TBDee, know the pain, which is why they’ve developed a website that will forever change how you make and book vacation plans. And it's now taking people for their closed beta, so sign up fast.
Why TBDee is revolutionary

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According to Wang, he and Danilatos developed TBDee "for love of travel. We’ve been complaining about how painful travel planning can be. Last year, I remember I spent 2 days planning a 3-day trip. That makes no sense. Why should I have to exert that much energy for something that’s meant to be enjoyable?”

With TBDee, people will have full transparency into their travel choices without having to comb through page after page of information. That’s because this new website leverages metadata, including that from SkySkanner, and has it all in one, easy-to-read place. It will even suggest better travel options based on your preferences - just to be sure you’re making the most out of your trip.

The first thing you’ll notice is that TBDee displays results in a dashboard form. There’s no more scrolling down, then up, then back down again to compare prices or times. Everything is laid out in a way that you can compare all of the specific travel information relating to each city side-by-side. If you want to get a more detailed view about exact flights or hotels, you can drill down and see more.

There’s more. TBDee opens your mind to other travel possibilities. Based on the intended destination you give the website, it comes back with top-rated suggestions for other cities you might be interested in visiting. Don’t know where you want to go? No problem. You can simply type what you’re looking to get out of your trip - like exploring ancient history, sampling incredible cuisine or hitting up the world’s best shops - and the site recommends different destinations that would fulfill your deepest travel desires.

Now for my favorite part: Pricing. Even if you pinpoint the place to where flights are the cheapest, you’re missing other key factors that contribute to the true cost of a trip. TBDee takes every expense into consideration and lays it out for you. For every destination, it breaks down the cost of airfare, hotel and the average cost-of-living there, so you know what you’re really getting into and so you can see other, more affordable travel possibilities you might not have considered.

Wang gave an example: Someone might be intending to go to London because the flights there are the cheapest. But guess what? The cost of staying in a 4-star hotel in that city - plus the cost of food, museum admissions and transportation - for 5 days isn’t very economical. TBDee would bring that to your attention, while also showing you that it would be far less expensive to go to Buenos Aires for 5 days, staying in a hotel of equal caliber. A traveler might not even think of going there, writing it off because the cost of airfare is steep. However, once you get there, the expenses are lower so it ends up being a deal. So the site would open your eyes to the best travel options you didn’t even know about.

You can also save potential destinations to a shortlist. This allows you to go back and compare them, mull them over and even send them to your travel companions so you can make a joint decision based off of the list.
It's about putting power back in travelers' hands

Wang maintains that TBDee will be a game-changer in travel for more reasons than one. Most importantly, though, he believes that the site will let people be the ones to make their own decisions - not airlines, hotels or other travel companies who are pushing a certain travel agenda. By pulling metadata to TBDee and showing people what all of their travel options are, the startup hopes to ease the planning process while ensuring folks have the most pleasant trip possible.

We were thinking hard about why planning travel has been so painful. The reason is that existing tools for planning leisure travel are designed for people who know exactly where they want to go and what they want to do. They all center on destination origin and, no matter how many sites have come out, there’s no real innovation going on. All of these existing products assume you know where you want to go, but in reality, most people are flexible about where they’d be willing to travel. With millennials, that’s even more so. With other travel sites, we’re inundated with choice. We understand there are tradeoffs, but there’s no way of knowing what those are, so we’re the ones who end up making the tradeoffs.

Instead, TBDee is looking to be more of a decision-making tool. Essentially, it will be like having an automated concierge who can instantly give suggestions based on what you’re looking for. Which, as Wang alluded to, will set it apart from a certain other travel startup that is in the works. (Cough-cough, Paul English’s Lola.)

“You’re going to see a trend in incorporating human concierges into tools,” Wang said. “But that still relies on the fact that you know what you want and you then have to wait for people to come back to you with choices. We think you should be able to play with dynamic information and have instant updates.”

Featured image via Olivia Vanni.

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