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Thoughts on this travel site idea

Posted by marktrip on 10/10/2013 at 13:33

Hi Guys,

Recently I was travelling across the world (and had no time to really plan out my trips) so I told myself after I got back, what if I made a site that helped automatically build itineraries, allowed friends to collaborate, allowed you to share the trip publicly for critiquing and basically just having your entire trip more organized.

I figure this could be more useful for a business traveller, but I think if we put all sorts of all factors into play like taking Open hours into consideration, weather, distance and let you basically play around with it on a map and let you book it all in one place saving the headache of going to tons of different sites to research it could be useful. Of course it would be free too..

Any thoughts on this, should this be made? would any of you use it? I know there are alternatives but there not executing as nicely as I would. I am a software engineer by profession, so I can do this :)

#1 marktrip has been a member since 10/10/2013. Posts: 3

Posted by caseyprich on 11/10/2013 at 01:26

You'd need a lot of data for the sight to be really useful. If you had up-to-date bus time-tables with ETAs that could be figured between destinations and could offer alternative easy interface to see travel times using different transportation types and such I think it'd be useful.

Also, the idea of automatic itineraries, while not suitable for me, could be very useful. Say you put in your travel preferences (Beach, Mountains, Culture, History, etc.) in ranked order, choose a location Jave + Bali, a time, and then it throws up one or two options. A lot of people come to this sight and say, "I"m going to SE Asia for 2 months, how about Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos?" and that is all the info they give. I imagine those people would find a great benefit in the site you are talking about.

#2 caseyprich has been a member since 3/3/2010. Location: China. Posts: 1,281

Posted by marktrip on 11/10/2013 at 07:28

Thanks for your feedback. Are you saying they would find it useful to figure out where to go or use the software to plan out the entire trip. How come it would not be for you? (because it would be automated and you would want a custom trip? Keep in mind you would be able to modify the trip after its been generated to suit your needs, it would act as a base template)

#3 marktrip has been a member since 10/10/2013. Posts: 3

Posted by caseyprich on 11/10/2013 at 21:29

I think it would be most useful to plan a general itinerary, sort of like you see in the front of a Lonely Planet but more customizable, I'd possibly even go and use that just for fun to see what comes up. If the software then offered options between each leg of the trip to both see/book different travel options and gave hotel recommendations based on preferences in each stop, I think people would find that very useful. So, in a sense it would plan out the entire trip, but in a very customizable mode - say you prefer to fly between this leg, or here you want to take the train kind of thing. Ability to book accommodation in some locations but forgo booking in others.

Personally, I like to scan through multiple sites to get a variety of perspectives on places to visit and stay. I don't book most of my travel legs or accommodations before departure, having a general plan and trying to flow with it - so If I did use the site it would be only if it offered a wide range of attractions that I may not have heard of and suggested I visit these places, and if there was full and up to date coverage of all the different transportation options between locations with all relevant information on each option.

I'm not likely to book through a site like this unless my experience shows me that they offer the best options on flight fares, train tickets and such and are reliable in their relationships with the local agents that would take care of these things. For instance, it is tough to book a ticket ahead on the train in Indonesia, but can I trust a global site to work out my ticket correctly so that it is there when I get to my hostel off the plane or will I be safer going to an ex-pat run website that was started specifically to accommodate a traveler like myself going to Indonesia.

#4 caseyprich has been a member since 3/3/2010. Location: China. Posts: 1,281

Posted by somtam2000 on 12/10/2013 at 00:47 admin

I'd suggest taking a look at what is already got to market (and mostly folded or pivoted) along these lines before you did much more. Check the Startup section on Tnooz -- these things are breeding like rabbits and mostly (IMO) creating a solution to a non existent problem.

Mountains of VC cash has been thrown at this and am yet to see anyone really make a go of it.

You'd need not only an absolutely immense amount of data (Q1: where would you get that from? Q2: How would you keep it up to date?)

More generally though I'm really not convinced there is actually a market for something like this, as I think many people actually enjoy the research portion of the trip planning process and, like caseyprich above, like to consult with multiple sources etc.

#5 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 8,083

Posted by cbg0927 on 11/3/2014 at 01:39

I like the idea of collaborative trip-planning with friends on an online platform @Marktrip, but I'd have to say I agree with somtam and caseyprich that the research part is half of the fun for me.

Here's just one company trying to make it in this arena: https://utrip.com/

For some travelers, this might be right up their alley. A customer review on UTrip's website states: "Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Love it. If I didn't have you guys helping me find great places to eat, it would've taken me forever to Google it all." For me, the endless hours of Google searching make the destination that much more satisfying.

Keep in mind though that you've posted this question on Travelfish, where the majority of users aren't exactly the "package deal" and "sit back and plan me a trip" types, so naturally our responses are going to be that we enjoy the research portion and don't find much value in the idea.

#6 cbg0927 has been a member since 30/7/2013. Location: United States. Posts: 62

Posted by LeonardCohen1 on 11/3/2014 at 02:39

Bps are cheapskates so it would have to be free and would cost a fortune to input all the variables.

#7 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148

Posted by marktrip on 14/3/2014 at 16:37

Well, I have put something together, over at www.tripmark.com The Travel Planner section just let's you put an itinerary together. So, it would look something like:

I'll be doing the automated building of itineraries when I get time, this is a fun project for me. Maybe I'll stick to manual itinerary building and being able to see other people's itineraries, I think this way it'll cater to more people AND itll be share worthy, to make people's life easier (to get input/modify among groups)... We shall see :)

PS the rough builder is here -> http://www.tripmark.com/Travel-Planner

#8 marktrip has been a member since 10/10/2013. Posts: 3

Posted by Azariah on 17/10/2014 at 23:35

I must say it sounds like a perfect idea and the way you have explained it shows that it can really be happen. Its good that you are into a relevant profession already so i guess if you go through it, you will be able to do something which is helpful for others especially business travelers so yeah its really and appreciable thing.

#9 Azariah has been a member since 17/10/2014. Posts: 15

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