Some years ago, Gennie Freen – a Dutch entrepreneur – had discovered, to his frustration, that it was practically impossible to search for travel options by budget and date rather than destination. He waited to see if any major players would fix this, but when this didn’t happen, he decided to do it himself. And GeniusFlight.com was born.
There’s no denying: technology is fundamentally transforming the travel industry and the way we travel. Accessing travel information and booking flights or hotels is now only a few clicks away. There’s no need to head to your local travel agent for prices and suggestions (not to mention agency fees), when you can now compare thousands of destinations and accommodation possibilities from the comfort of, well, anywhere.
Besides the convenience factor, technology, or, specifically, the web, has managed to amass an ocean of inspiration from worldwide travel bloggers – professionals or amateurs. By sharing their sightseeing adventures online, and with the aid of social media, they have contributed to an extensive database of travel recommendations, tips, guides, and insights.
Sharing is the keyword here – a concept which came into being with the emergence of platforms such as Facebook and, later, Twitter, Foursquare, Instagram etc. These allowed users to practically flaunt their vacation plans or experiences to their friends and eventually led to travel companies interacting with potential customers for bookings.
Another milestone in the travel-tech world was the rise of smartphones, which made the mobile web accessible to the masses and brought about a ton of travel-related apps. Finally, the modern breed of holiday-shoppers is also facing a variety of choices when it comes to accommodation, thanks to virtual marketplaces where people can share their homes for short stays and get paid for it.
Looking forward to other trends inspired by technology, it is worth observing how companies are constantly creating incentives and customer engagement through mechanisms involving gamification. While this is not something new, if we are to consider loyalty and frequent flier programs, digital tools and platforms such as Foursquare have taken it to a whole new level. By allowing the possibility to check in to locations, they have provided companies with the opportunity to reward their loyal customers.
Besides the location-based opportunities, users are now also encouraged by companies to engage in simple social media based games where they can win tickets to their favorite destination, provided they share their activity with their friends – thus relying on an old gaming principle: play – prize – pride.
In light of all these current trends, GeniusFlight.com was born at a crucial point for the travel industry at large. Recent figures show that 71 percent of internet users will check flight comparison sites in order to achieve the best possible deal.
GeniusFlight is the travel-booking platform shaking up the travel industry by allowing people to search for flights based on budget rather than destination. So simple – why didn’t this exist before? Just enter your chosen budget – minimum and/or maximum – using a slider, travel dates, and departure point, and all the possible flight destinations within that budget will instantly be displayed on a map. Users discover that for the same price as a flight to Paris, they could set off on an adventure to Marrakech for the weekend.
GeniusFlight is for everyone, whether you are a young travellers looking to get away for a week on a tight budget, or from the 60+ generation looking to explore the world. By partnering up with world famous tracker Skyscanner, GeniusFlight generates instant search results from the latest airfares of over 1,000 airlines worldwide.
Alongside GeniusFlight.com, we are also introducing GeniusHotels.com, in partnership with Booking.com, which has access to 500.000 different hotels at any one time, making them kings of the industry.
But that’s not the whole story. GeniusFlight’s aim is to inspire holiday shoppers – to step out of their comfort zone and try new destinations, as well as challenge airlines to diversify their routes and offer more variety to their customers.
When talking about what’s in store for sightseers, it is safe to say that we can expect a wealth of sharing possibilities. People are already offering their own houses to tourists – so why not their own cars? Online guides written by locals are also very popular; I believe that trips will become even more interactive between tourists and locals in the coming years, ever enriching our travel experience.
The mobile booking trend is also important to note. Currently 25 percent of all holiday bookings are completed on a mobile device. This figure is likely to double in the coming years, allowing people to resume, revise and even alter their trip after they’ve taken off. Above all, technology is becoming ever more consumer focused, responding to what the consumer needs and allowing more people to easily make their own informed choices. Immediately. With power and knowledge over what they spend – and how.
My prediction? I expect that in the next few years countries such as Africa will grow as travel destinations – due in large part to price-focused platforms which inform people that flying there is cheaper than they thought. I’d also put my money on other more unusual locations such as St. Petersburg, Moscow, and Bratislava becoming more popular with travellers for the same reason.
But, if you’re like me and don’t necessarily have a place in mind when it comes to spontaneously going away for the weekend, just check your wallet to see how much you can spend and we’ll do the rest to inspire you.
At the age of 40, Gennie Freen has been at the forefront of innovation and entrepreneurship for 20 years, starting his first business – organising student events – while still studying at law school in Amsterdam. After discovering the price-driven consumer, he became successful in the world of couponing and conceived GeniusFlight.com in May 2014.