GETTING STARTED: TravelRank guides travelers to new destinations via AI
Classification of trips
TravelRank’s AI analyzes the user’s travel history and compares it to data from similar travelers and similar unvisited destinations.
TravelRank will launch a premium subscription element later this year offering a personal travel assistant and other perks.
What’s your 30-second pitch to investors?
TravelRank is a freemium web application that helps frequent travelers save days of research by finding the best travel destinations, flights and tourist sites suitable for each user through advanced AI.
Our AI will analyze the user’s travel history and compare it with data from similar users and similar unvisited destinations. Put the manual search for destinations, flights, tourist sites and weather comparison on autopilot. Get things done in seconds instead of hours or days.
The AI estimates the likelihood that the user enjoys visiting a particular destination based on several factors:
- user’s travel history imported from Foursquare or added manually
- other members have similar travel histories on our service
- information on the 52,000+ destinations, such as its scores in more than 20 categories
Describe both the business and technological aspects of your startup.
TravelRank relies on two sources of revenue: premium memberships and affiliate commissions on the sale of flights.
The Premium subscription is currently in test mode and includes perks such as a personal travel advisor, COVID filter and mail alerts on selected destinations, more options for importing travel history and more information on the recommendations given.
The technological know-how and innovation lies in AI and the automation of routine tasks such as discovering and finding new destinations, comparing flights and views. It is the all-in-one tool for the discovery phase of the journey of your trip.
It narrows down the hundreds of travel options to only exceed 10, which saves users a lot of time.
Give us your SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis of the company.
- Innovative solution, first on the market. People increasingly expect frictionless services with more and more automation and less manual labor. Travel is no exception. AI, automation, personalized recommendations will replace research and manual operations in the near future.
- We are seeing this trend everywhere, in social media, in ads and in entertainment.
- Modern, fast, lightweight and scalable technology stack
- AI-powered travel recommendations and automated predictions take extra effort to build customer confidence and penetrate the mass market
- New customer habits require care and time to be adopted
- Travel is one of the oldest industries where technological renovation and transformation is still ongoing. Our goal is to ensure that our solution is mature enough before the consumer travel market and larger partners are ready to ride the “automated travel” wave.
- Global disruptive events like COVID, limiting people’s options for where to travel. People don’t need automation if there are only a handful of places to go
- Confidentiality constraints on the sharing and processing of personal data
What are the travel issues you are trying to alleviate from a customer and industry perspective?
Travelers often spend up to three weeks researching travel, visiting dozens of sites in both directions. The results are generic. There should be a better way to do it.
We want to reduce the friction associated with travel planning, shorten the time between the idea of going somewhere and having an actual plan, knowing the best place to go, when, how and what to see.
And we’re not just talking about a plan that works for everyone, but a highly personalized plan based on the travel experience and personal preferences of the customer.
So you have the product, now how are you going to get a lot of customers?
- We are building an ambassador program and recruiting influencers to market ourselves to their audience.
- By content and SEO
- Via paid advertising, social (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest) and Google
- Use the referral program and word of mouth
Tell us what process you went through to establish a real need for your business and the size of the addressable market.
We tested the initial need for the product even before starting development through a series of interviews with potential customers, friends and early adopters.
Next, we rolled out a closed beta with access limited to first-time users only. We’re going through the next iteration of interviews based on actual product usage, which has produced a lot of changes and improvements.
After the first validation and beta testing, we released TravelRank to product showcase communities such as ProductHunt, BetaList, and IndieHackers. This is how we attracted the first hundred users.
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We believe there is a huge underserved market. There are 20 million Millennials traveling overseas to the United States who have gone through the tedious process of travel planning 4-6 times a year. There is a clear opportunity with a total addressable market of around $ 3 billion.
How and when will you make money?
TravelRank will start making money with the premium subscription launch later this year (currently in test mode).
What are the backgrounds and previous achievements of the founding team?
Alexandr Shevchuk, 38, based in Kiev, Ukraine. Founder and CEO. Former Product Manager of the Reservations and API team at Thomas Cook, UK. Former Project Manager at Wargaming.net (developer World of Tanks, massive AAA multiplayer game with millions of online players worldwide).
Alex has over 15 years of IT experience as a full-stack JS developer, project, program and product manager. Helped launch and develop over 30 products in various fields eg travel, social media and games.
What has been the most difficult part of building the business so far?
- Obtain more early adopters
- Finding the Right Channels and Messages for Marketing and Distribution During COVID
Typically, travel industry startups face a pretty tough time to make an impact – so why are you going to be one of the lucky ones?
- If it is not us there should be another company that will do the same, it is technologically and socially inevitable
- We believe the time is right to adopt automated travel recommendations.
- Tech is ready, other tech sectors are building trust and advocating for AI
In a year, what state do you think your startup will be in?
- In a year from now, I think we will gain wider adoption and start entering the mass market.
- In about 5-10 years, human travel experiences and preferences will be living in the cloud, processed and structured by AI. AI will fully or partially replace OTAs, travel agents, manual search engines.
- People will receive highly personalized travel recommendations in time when the AI recommends them to travel again (based on vital and psychological data).
- Travel packages will be dynamically and automatically booked by AI based on these recommendations
What’s your endgame? (IPO, acquisition, growth and maintenance of the private sector, etc.)
PhocusWire start-up phase
Learn more about our profiling of new travel agencies and how to apply.