Founder of Apple-acquired digital publishing software launches peer-to-peer booking platform, TRVL
Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 11th August, 2016 – Introducing TRVL: an online booking platform that is setting out to revolutionize the travel industry. Launched by Jochem Wijnands, co-founder of the digital publishing software PRSS that was acquired by Apple in 2014, TRVL was inspired by Wijnands’ love of the travel life. Wijnands created PRSS to streamline publishing his inspirational iPad travel magazine, also named TRVL. After returning from California where he and his team worked on the Apple News Format – now part of iOS – Wijnands is back in Amsterdam on the brink of rebooting TRVL. Launching in September, and backed by the same group of shareholders that invested in PRSS, the product picks up where Wijnands’ publication left off. In fact, TRVL blends the two ideas together in an all-encompassing digital travel platform with editorial-style content and a peer-to-peer booking tool in one.
Stepping beyond the shared economy -
The concept of the shared economy is nothing new. TRVL, however, hopes to ride another wave: that of the trust economy. Through the platform, users are not only able to streamline the seemingly infinite number of travel-related choices, but they can do so while feeling more confident in their bookings. “Studies show we spend almost 40 hours researching our trips online – just to cut through the noise, narrow down our choices and build up enough confidence to book,” says the start-up’s CEO Wijnands. Instead of going to a faceless online amalgamator or bricks-and-mortar travel agency, users are able to swap stories and snag insider tips from a local or well-seasoned traveler to whom they can relate. “We want to eliminate the boundless choice and replace it with the one thing that can really make a difference,” says Wijnands. That thing? “Personal recommendations from friends, locals or like-minded travelers”.
So, how does it work? “We realized that recommendations go a long way, especially if they are coming from people you trust,” says Wijnands. From local residents and lifelong travelers who simply want to share their knowledge to those who’d like to make some income on the side, anyone can become a TRVL agent and earn money. “This really is the crux of TRVL,” says Head of Product Alex Keynes. “The best travel advice always comes from friends and family, or people you meet along the way. TRVL aims to leverage this knowledge.” This is great for the end user, who gets a personally-curated trip – but also for the TRVL agent, who can earn up to 10 percent of the total booking costs.
Content, content, content -
TRVL is also filled will expertly-curated editorial content. A catalog of over 500 cities has been divided up into neighborhoods that help narrow down traveler's choices and inspire people to discover a destination as a local would. Partnering with some of the biggest accommodation, transport and experienced brands in the travel industry, it’s this pool of resources plus TRVL’s editorialized content that really enable anyone to become a TRVL agent. There’s a ratings system, and agents who regularly plan trips and have an expertise in a certain area or specialize in a category – such as Paris or family holidays – stand to be recognized as experts within the TRVL community. “Travelers have a strong culture of helping each other and sharing information,” notes Wijnands. It is this sharing culture, in which travelers innately trust other travelers, that inspired the basic concept.
It’s a reality that today’s online travel world creates anxiety for travelers. “More choice doesn’t equal better results,” points out Keynes. “The paradox of choice is real, and TRVL hopes to make it go away.” The Internet has enabled large, mass-market travel booking sites, and has led to the proliferation of mediocre travel blogs.
TRVL hopes to change this: to empower the traveler by giving them not more choices, but better ones. Choices that have been vetted by not only the team at TRVL, but the passionate travelers and locals all over the world who act as the platform’s TRVL agents.
Anybody can sign up to the beta launch at www.trvl.com and start making bookings for their family and friends from mid-October. TRVL will be available on desktop and mobile-web, with plans to roll-out mobile apps for iOS and Android in early 2017.