I would love YOUR help. Anything you can contribute in the way of comments to this blog will not only be helpful to me and my partners, but it could be to you – for your own needs in the near future.
Here is a startup idea … a travel site that builds travel plans for YOU – as an individual – based on YOUR preferences that the site learns over time.
Take me. I love to travel. I love to add it to business trips. I love to do it last minute. But I have – like each of you have – a bunch of things that are relatively unique to me. I want to see as many things as possible. I don’t like cars and taxis in cities with a lot of traffic. I love trains and subways. I would rather stick needles in my eyes than lie on a beach and soak up the sun. The more adrenaline generated by an activity, the better. Basically, I want to “experience” as much high energy activities as a possibly can in as short a time as possible. Yes, I am off the extrovert scale. But … I also have some idiosyncrasies to this profile – I love cathedrals and other great architectural buildings and I actually don’t mind shopping (I am so laying myself bare in this blog!).
Sure, I know there are hundreds of travel sites and services, but this only makes the need stronger. Most of these sites are either way too narrow in the problem they service or they … well, they suck.
For me, the closest travel book/app combination are the “Top 10” travel series. I love the idea of lists of things to “hit.” The challenge, of course, is that the list is not MY Top 10. If I find 4 or 5 interesting, it is a massive win. Imagine if I could get MY Top 10 – created dynamically for me.
Anyway, almost enough about me. I see the site being something I go to on my PC (who am I kidding here, on my MacBook Air) to “configure” my travel and then have it all pushed to my smartphone for the travel … including a customized map, integration with my calendar, any electronic tickets embedded and so forth.
With that high-level background, here are the high-level use cases to drive the travel experience:
(1) It is February in Ottawa (i.e. approaching absolute zero) … I have a week open in two weeks’ time. Please suggest a vacation.
(2) I know I want to go to Spain for 10 days next month. Suggest a travel itinerary for me.
(3) I will be in London for business. My calendar is up-to-date. Fill in the remainder with things I would like to do based on where I am already staying, the weather forecast and so forth.
OK, this has been a lot of rambling on my part. If you have made it this far, thanks for hanging in. Now, your mission, should you choose to accept it … please add comments on what you like about current travel sites, what drives you crazy about travel sites and – most importantly – what do you wish travel sites would do and just flat out don’t help you with at all. Or … just anything that relates to better travel even if it has nothing to do with software or technology.
Thank you in advance. It is my sincere hope that you experience better travel – customized for you – soon.