Tripaya is a consumer metasearch startup that prompts users to say how much they want to spend and what kind of trip they want to have (beach, snow, romance, Pokemon Go, etc..), to receive recommendations on where to go, with flight and hotel included.
The company says that in July it had 100,000 visitors, without any investment in marketing, all generated organically and that, since its launch in spring 2015, it has generated more than one million page views.
The solution is reminiscent of Kayak Explore, a six-year-old tool that shows inspirational recommendations based on flights and limited to destinations with airports.
Earlier this year, Google introduced similar functionality. For a while now, EasyJet and others have also offered inspirational tools. So has Hopper.
Tripaya says it stands out from rivals by aggregating flight and hotel data to provide inspiring trip recommendations with a full plausible budget.
The startup, based in Lisbon (and with an office in London), says that it relies on flight data from Skyscanner's API. It claims a 14% conversion rate, which would be above industry averages.
Here's a one-minute video pitch from founder André Ramos:
And here are Ramos's responses to a half-dozen questions:
What problem does your business solve?
According to Google, 65% of all leisure travelers browse online for inspiration, before they book their trips. When we look to the online travel industry, there are so many services for travelers who know where to go, but no one is taking care of those who don’t.
A study from Expedia says that when it comes to leisure travel, consumers are spending a significant amount of time online researching options: Up to 45 days leading up to a booking, a consumer will conduct as many as 38 visits to travel sites.
Travelers are spending more time browsing for their trips than actually living them.
When you look to the online travel solutions out there and compare them to what they were 10 years ago, you don’t see much of an evolution. Travel sites stood still, while the consumer needs and behaviour changed.
Nowadays travellers want more than just a trip, they want unique experiences. But when it comes to planning a trip, it’s hard not to go to the same places over and over again and sometimes you just need some inspiration.
Tripaya has taken the daydreaming aspect a step further by allowing its users to search destinations by interests and budget. For a long time, travel sites focused primarily on finding people the most budget-friendly flights and hotels but Tripaya is expanding to help people choose destinations as well.
We have a database of more than 2,000 curated destinations, handpicked by our team, that normally we don’t see on the major travel sites.
Names of founders, their management roles, and number of full-time paid staff?
The team is multidisciplinary, with more than 10 years developing travel solutions. We are 3 founders with background in marketing, business and programming. André Ramos as CEO, André Costa as CTO and Filipe Pereira as COO. To complete the team, we have 2 more full-time developers.
Tripaya is boot strapping since beginning. We launched our MVP the fastest we could, because we wanted to put our product in the hands of our clients, and hear what they had to say, and then iterate!
Now that we validate our concept and reach product market fit, we are starting to search for investment so we can expand and grow in a more sustainable way. We already have some advanced processes with some VCs and BAs, evaluating Tripaya at more than $1M.
To understand our revenue model is important to acknowledge that Tripaya is not an online travel agency, we are a meta search engine.
We collect and aggregate data of more than 100 sites, and then deliver highly qualified leads to them. Our main revenue stream is by generating leads to our partners. On top of that, we share commissions every time a trip is booked.
Why do you think the pain point you’re solving is painful enough that customers are willing to pay for your solution?
To be clear on this point, Tripaya is completely free for the users. We don’t add extra commissions or hidden fees. Since we browse and compare hundreds of travel sites to show our users the best options, we can guarantee the best prices in the market.
In an era that users have an attention span of 8 seconds, they really value their time. Spend 45 days online browsing for a trip is completely insane.
What Tripaya provides is a solution where the users will find their trips, within few minutes. And our data proves exactly that. As the average sessions is around the 8 minutes in some of the major travel sites, in Tripaya the average session time is 3 minutes. And this don’t mean users don’t relate to our content, it means they find what they want much faster.
Some of the major travel sites have a click-through rate (CTR) of around 10%, Tripaya is getting a CTR of more than 15%. How? Because we are delivering just relevant content to our users.
How practical is an amazing weekend break for skiing if what I really look forward is relaxing in a sandy beach? What good is a great destination, if it’s too expensive to get there?
We are completing now one year since we launched. And it has been a year full of hard work, and recognition.
1. Tripaya just finished Lisbon Challenge, an accelerator that Micheal Selbel from Y Combinator said “can become the European Y Combinator.”
2. We have been considered a case study by our partner Skyscanner.
3. Tripaya has managed to partner with the top referenced names in the industry, such as Skyscanner, Booking.com, Tripadvisor, Homeaway, and Rome2Rio, and also with key players in different areas, such as Microsoft, Google and Vodafone.
Trip-planning services are a category of startups that some critics would say you should never consider building. But given its metasearch focus, Tripaya seems to avoid many of the major mistakes that plague that genre of startup.
What's more, optimists might believe that the Tripaya concept is tailor-made for the dawning era of machine learning, AI, and voice- and text-activated search tools, such as Amazon's Alexa, Microsoft's Skype, Facebook's Messenger, Google's Assistant, and Apple's Siri.
Imagine you pick up your AI-powered device and ask a natural language query of your virtual assistant, like, "Where can I go scuba diving next weekend for under 500$?" and you receive several possible itineraries as recommendations.
In that scenario, there seems to be a potential for the Tripaya concept to work particularly well.
In the meantime, this Portugese startup seems to be gaining traction on the web. It'll be interesting to see what destination it goes to next given its interests and budget.