According to Forrester research, during the past 5 years, travel-planning enjoyment fell 6% and Google claims that people are spending, on average, 29 days planning a single trip. Startups such as Trippy and Gogobot try to solve this problem by connecting you to your friends for advice through social networks. SnappyGo, on the other hand, believes recommendations from friends can be helpful, but nothing beats advice from knowledgeable travel advisers.
Before the dawn of the Internet, access to travel advisers came through books, travel agents or other means. Meanwhile, people who travel often for business and as a pastime were able to educate those closest to them about where to go for specific destinations. SnappyGo aims to make this process more efficient by building a marketplace of knowledgeable travel advisers and connecting the correct expert with the right traveler.
The company has developed a technology with a set of algorithms organized into what they call The 8 Dimensions of Travel Compatibility. Travelers input some details about the trip they are planning and they are matched with travel advisers who share the same interests (e.g., extreme sports, etc.) and knowledge of the particular destination.
In the process, experts who viewed travel has a pastime can now realize some income on their knowledge from revenue sharing on a advisory fee. The company says that the exact amount of the fee will be determined during their beta period, but will be substantially less than expert travel advice through other means. Customers can then rate the advice they received and record this on their travel adviser’s profile.
According to a recent Businessweek article (Feb. 16, 2012), nearly 118 million people in the U.S. will research travel online in 2012 ensuring a substantial potential market of consumers seeking such advice. SnappyGo CEO, Camilo Gomez, a former banker at Citibank in Colombia, South America, has run travel related business since a young boy and is keen on his new venture. In recent years, he’s grown his online travel agency, Mantaraya Travel, into an established destination for foreign travelers looking to book custom packages in Colombia and is now looking to solve a problem he’s witnessed first hand.
SnappyGo launched its beta program in December of 2011. They have already begun to connect travelers with advisers and charge for the service. According to Gomez, they will continue developing the product while understanding how it is being used (e.g., Customer Development) in the coming months after which the company is planning to close a round of funding.