Travel IQ est le "prochain standard de la recherche de voyages sur Internet".
Le service (en version beta et en allemand pour le moment) est focalisé sur une cible à fort potentiel : les "frequent travellers" pour des voyages business ou loisirs.
Konstantin Schlüter nous en dit plus sur Travel IQ et le Travel 2.0
1. Konstantin, can you tell some information about you and traveliq.de? You manage the operation for this travel online community. Can you tell us the story and some fact about this project?
Travel IQ was founded in October 2006. My partner Christian Hennerkes and I know each other from our engagement at The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), where we both led projects in the Consumer Goods and Media industries. While I stayed at BCG, Christian after his career at BCG became member of the board of one of Europe's largest food companies, Müller Milch. He gave his promise to be available, if an entrepreneurial opportunity is seen. And so he did, when we founded Travel IQ.
We currently have 9 employees working in our two offices in Munich and Berlin. Travel IQ is funded by the founders and business angels.
Travel IQ is travel search; we are not an online travel agency like e.g. Expedia, as we do not sell any product to our users. Travel IQ is free of charge to all our users. Our vision is to make planning, searching and booking of travel products as easy and comfortable as possible.
With traveliq.de users no longer have to look at each supplier's offer in search for the best alternative. Travel IQ translates the traveller's request into its advanced search engine and will search the offerings of the best suppliers. Our aim is clearly not to integrate every offering in the net, but the best ones.
2. Tourism is a people business and a destination experience with personal encounters. Do you think the travel community can leverage a destination or product thanks a web site and tools like traveliq.de?
Personal experience is the best advisor. This is especially true for travelling. The rating of travel destinations is surely one of the most positive and far-reaching changes for the industry in recent years. Knowing the best destination is one thing, but finding the best way to travel is at least as important. This is currently our part, but we have also plans for building an innovative travel community in the future.
3. Who will use your services? Do you have a target audience? What is your key differentiator?
Travel IQ is clearly focussed at frequent travellers for their business and their private trips.
Travel IQ is very different to existing search in three ways:
Quality of search:
We are clearly not the "Google of travel search" We do not integrate every offering in the web, but only the best ones. And the best ones are these, that provide the best combination to the traveller- e.g. the perfect flight is not only determined by the lowest price, but equally also by the departure and arrival time and the carrier. For the offerings we show, prices are 100% correct: We show the final price including all taxes, fees and surcharges. And we provide deeplinks to the offering of our partners, thus providing a very easy and comfortable way to finally book your trip.
Already the beta release of Travel IQ comes with unmatched features. We receive enthusiastic feedback by our users, but also by competitors, some tell us, Travel IQ sets the next standard for the online travel search. Just to give one example, with our itinerary view, for the first time, users can simultaneously collect and plan and manage all elements of their journey from different suppliers. These itineraries can easily be changed or rescheduled – Travel IQ automatically rearranges all parts of the journey. And there are many more features, to be tried out at traveliq.de!
Intuitive and easy to use interface
This is probably the first way to see, that we are different to existing travel searches. While so far every travel search is very technical and looked like an advanced spreadsheet, Travel IQ is different. We call it "grandma approved". The clearly arranged configuration of Travel IQ, like a desktop application gives you all the information and functions you need in one place – no scrolling, no use of different windows. We took a lot of the information out, Travel IQ shows all the information you need, nothing more, and nothing less. Travel IQ is fully add-free.
4. Do you plan to work with the professional as well? Like travel agency, tour operator…or it's only for end customer?
We do work with professionals at the moment, as they are the suppliers of the offerings we show to our users. We believe in partnering with the very best partners (that offer best prices or best services/depth of offering) instead of integrating hundreds of suppliers. Here conversion management is a very sensitive and important topic.
Our website on the opposite is clearly targeted at the end user, being for their business or their private trips.
5. User-generated content is transforming the way users research, search and decide on their travel plans. What latest trends have you seen in this arena?
The most authentic rating comes from own experience. The new technological possibilities allow for the first time that information can flow directly between customers. All efforts by suppliers to manipulate that peer to peer information will not work. I think, in the future we will see traditional rating systems – like hotel stars – in combination with user generated evaluations.
6. Do you think consumers trust bloggers views more than traditional marketing?
Consumers will use all the information they can get and aggregate it. Trust will rather evolve from the source of information – who told you something – then from the technological means he uses. Consumers trust user-generated content, no matter if it is a letter to the editor or a travel blog. They want to be hundred percent sure that that there is no hidden agenda.
7. Internet is going faster and we talk now about Web 2.0 and Travel 2.0. What do you think about this evolution in the tourism & hotel market place? Social media and User Generated Content are the big trends for Travel 2.0?
It has its influence on consumer's behaviour. The spread of technology will more and more avoid that for example some hotels will be able to mislead consumers by manipulating their reviews in travel communities. Information and transaction costs will decrease further.
8. How will Travel 2.0 affect the way travellers interact with suppliers?
Travellers are becoming more critical. That is the chance for both sides to start an open dialogue – travellers will be informed more concrete and honestly, suppliers more easily get information about the needs and wants of their target groups.
9. We see important impact of news technologies (RSS, AJAX, podcast, blog, social networking tools, Google mashup, Vidéo etc), what is your point of view in the travel area?
Technology is not a sake for itself, it has to prove the value for the user. Travel IQ is probably the most advanced JAVA script application out there. Yes, we do provide RSS feeds of our blogs, incorporate Google maps, if you want you could label us purely 2.0. But we do all this just because we believe this adds value to our users; and not to impress anyone by dropping buzzwords.
We see a lot of online companies across all industries doing exactly this, talking about their AJAX features, etc, as if just the mentioning of these technologies would increase the value to the user. My strong believe is, this won't work.
For the travel industry, I see a very important trend: What we think will be the next quantum leap, are unified technology platform standards. In our business, consolidation of data from different suppliers in order to be able to offer transparent services to consumers is crucial. But to be honest, today it is a mess. Travel IQ is keen to develop a clear technology platform that allows us a frictionless data exchange with no surprises for our partners and our clients.
10. What are your taste for:
Travel: Short trips, the world has so much to offer, you can't stay to long at one place
Travel destination: Hong Kong still is my favourite (for many years already)
Hotel : For private trips, I love small boutique hotels. This is the perfect start to really connect to your destination. Currently my favourite hotel is the Bulgari hotel in Milan, Italy.
Business: Here I prefer very professional managed larger properties -Four Seasons Hotels are definitely worth a try.
11. Any advises for people who want to use traveliq.de?
Just try it, there is nothing you could do wrong. And please try the impossible. Especially, if you are an experienced online traveller, we are sure, that Travel IQ will surprise you in many ways.
Currently Travel IQ is still in the beta phase. So from time to time, there might be some bugs and server breakdowns. If so, please tell us, we very much rely on your feedback.
12. You have the micro
We talked to hundreds of users during our product development phase, many of whom were very frustrated, with the way online travel works today. I invite everyone, to try traveliq.de. I am confident, that most of you, will perceive Travel IQ as one of our first customers did, who asked: "Why hasn't anyone made travel search this easy and comfortable before?".My answer: I don't know, but at least Travel IQ did give it a try.