Zipkick- Personalized Travel Plans in the Palm of your hand
When you’re planning a trip, whether it’s for business or pleasure, you want to make sure you get the best deals possible for your accommodations. Before smartphones, we would use travel agents to find deals for us, or spend hours in front of our computers looking through pages and pages of travel websites. But now, there are apps out there that can make our lives a lot easier and stress free. Meet Zipkick.
Zipkick is an early stage company and the first travel planning and booking company to develop a truly seamless mobile search experience.
I recently got to sit down with Josh Rasmussen, one of the Founders of Zipkick. You can follow him here:
MF: What is Zipkick?
Zipkick is an intuitive travel search and booking app, which gives you unique results based upon how you like to travel on a highly personalized level. We have built in continuous learning technology similar to Pandora and Netflix. Its proprietary platform allows for users to input and rank their travel preferences, which are then stored within the account. The more customers interact with the app, Zipkick recommendations become even more accurate.
MF: How did you come up with the idea for Zipkick?
My Co-founder and I were sitting together at a Starbucks on California Street discussing travel ideas. We both came from a previous startup and agreed that travel search was really stagnant. We are still using the same search methodology we did over 20 years ago which makes it really hard to come up with good search results without getting a lot of unwanted information. So we thought, “how could we change that and make it easier for people to travel”. With a previous background in legal technology and data relevancy, I knew we could create unique technology that would allow you to get the results that matter without having to see the other junk. My co-founder and I started our company two years ago, and now have multiple patents pending on that technology.
MF: What interests you about the travel/transport space?
The thing that interested me the most is that I was successful in my previous endeavors, and if I was going to go after something I would want it to be a big problem. The travel industry in the United States alone is generates over 1.2 trillion dollars annually. When you look at companies like Uber and AirBnB, they are doing unique things to solve problems. I asked my family and friends if I was going to do something, what should I do? If I were to pick a sector, which one should I pick? My family told me to go big. So I looked at the travel industry, and thought to myself, there is lot of innovation that can still be had, we can still change the way people travel, so let’s put our mark on travel search and make it fun again.
MF: Discuss failure or setback you’ve experienced and how you got through it?
Every startup has failures and setbacks. I tend to think of those as learning opportunities. It is okay to screw up, let’s just all learn together. The thing that was hard for us originally was to find our fit. Zipkick has patent pending technology that gives relevancy based scoring to travel search and no one has had that before. When we talked to large companies about this, they were extremely interested, and so much so to the point that we met with the highest echelons of the largest travel companies and travel management companies in the world. After that, we weren’t sure if we were going to go from Business to Business or Business to Consumer. Our team said let’s give the customers something unique, let’s not lose the vision, and stay focused on our business to consumer model. We ended up saying, consumers come first, we can create something truly unique and visionary and if it works well for the consumers, everybody wins. That thought process lead to a pivotal point in our teams development cycle but we lost a good amount of time figuring that out in the process.
MF: Where do you see the future of travel?
In the short term, within a 5 to 6 year period of time I see travel being highly relevant to a specific user as well as friendly for groups that travel together. That means that when we search for group travel today, we don’t get any discounts even though we were going to Hawaii together. Instead, I think that there is going to be technology out there one day that not only gives you group travel discounts, but also suggests activities that will be fun on a unique level for your group. Looking further ahead, I believe that the future of travel is going to go highly mobile. Right now the numbers we are seeing are 8 desktop bookings for every 1 mobile booking, and in the future I think we will see the opposite of that.
MF: With so many travel apps already out there, what makes your app stand out from the rest?
We have a lot of energy and experience within our team. My Co-founder and I have both traveled all around the country for different jobs and have experienced these problems firsthand. Our team decided to say let’s stop focusing on the businesses, and start focusing on what customers really want; no ads, simple, repeatable and personalized travel search results. We are taking feedback on a daily level to give people the most personalized results in 3 seconds or less, and allowing users to find what matters to them without scroll bars, radio buttons or searching thousands of different options. We want to give the most seamless process for people to run searches and make bookings and believe Zipkick is going to be the most personalized travel search and booking system ever created.
MF: You have not officially launched Zipkick yet, is that correct?
Yes, we have not officially launched yet. The roadmap based upon the feedback we’ve been getting from everyone is that we want to keep adding things in that are super useful to people. The application does everything that we designed it to do: the ability to search, to book, to look at personalized information, as well as the ability to go through the results that really matter, without having to go through pages of irrelevant content. An announcement will be coming shortly with more details.