Another shared economy, technology-led disruption is on the cards for the travel industry and it's coming to South Africa. TRVL gives everyone access to a world that has been inhabited by travel agencies only - until now. According to a TechCrunch article, "If TRVL has its way, it's the travel agencies' turn to tremble."
We had a chat with Founder and CEO Jochem Wijnands - the same Dutch entrepreneur who built the Prss digital publishing platform which became Apple News - about his latest startup that is set to cause a stir in the travel industry.
Jochem Wijnands (Image Supplied)
What is TRVL and how does it work?
TRVL is a peer-to-peer booking platform that gives everyone access to the travel agent world. We’re lifting the curtain of the travel industry and revealing what is behind it.
First: We pay you a travel agent commission on every booking you make (yes, really!)
Second: We give you access to industry deals with discounts of up to 65% - that you won’t find anywhere else. This is as good as it sounds.
Third: You can get personalised advice from other travellers who’ve experienced a destination first hand.
TRVL acknowledges that you’re acting like your own travel agent, and we’re paying you the commission a travel agent would normally get.
Tell us about the technology powering TRVL and what led to its creation?
We’ve integrated API’s from five brands (and counting): Booking, Expedia, Agoda, Priceline and Hotels. Your dashboard keeps track of all commissions you have earned and all trips you have booked. With our proprietary chat, you can share information with other travellers, on-demand and in real time. In the near future, we’ll start adding other products such as activities, tours and rental cars.
Today, researching and booking your trip online takes a lot of time and can be frustrating and tedious. And it is too expensive. TRVL acknowledges that you’re acting like your own travel agent, and we’re paying you the commission a travel agent would normally get. We’re connecting millions of travellers with each other so you can always find first-hand information about your destination when you need it most: when you’re making a booking.
What value does TRVL hold for travel writers/bloggers? And what has the response been like from regular travellers who can also use TRVL?
TRVL is for all travellers, no matter what type of traveller you are. Some of the travellers that join TRVL like to become a travel curator and make money from home, and with TRVL they can set up shop. For travel bloggers, this is a no-brainer because they already reach a large travel savvy audience and they need to monetise their blog.
TRVL desktop dashboard (Image Supplied)
How will it change the travel industry?
To put the traveller first and give them an earning model and access to the travel industry world that is normally off-limits to them, is new and disruptive. TRVL is emancipating travellers and empowering them to take matters into their own hands. This is very exciting, and we’re convinced it will change the travel industry for the better. It’s a logical next step. We want TRVL to be the next normal.
What does the future hold for TRVL?
Continuing our global rollout, adding new products, expanding our community features and growing our user base. Our growth is organic, it’s word of mouth, one traveller tipping off another.
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