Back when there wasn’t the internet or Instagram, well before the advent of the 56k modem or smartphones, everyday people had to use travel agents and typically met with them in person. There would be a destination or type of trip in mind and then the agent would labor over all the places to make up your trip. Next, they would spend hours, if not days, reserving the transportation alone. While this type of business is, in fact, not dead, it is very much what the modern travel industry grew out of.
Fast forward 50, 60, or 70 years and the 56k modem comfortably fits into our history books. Our smartphones have more computing power than that of the first rockets to the moon. The old school travel agents have nearly gone extinct.
The only thing that has changed is the technology, access, and customer expectations. What has stayed the same are the expectations of the customer – they’re still looking for a personable and customary trip that fits their needs and budget.
Within travel, things have not really budged as they could. In order to effectively find the best way to your destination, you have to search every mode of transport. And while things are slowly catching up, they are much slower than we anticipated.
Still, in order to compare the bus, with the train, with flights, and estimating driving costs – it quite labor intensive. Stepping away from the O.G. travel agent, we are no longer using a combination yellow pages and rotary phones. Our efforts are now personalized and we are left browsing the first page results of Google – which, in itself, does not paint the picture accurately.
With our latest release, we took a step back a few years and went to an old MVP. Simple question – what’s the cheapest way from New York to Boston? What’s the fastest way from Los Angeles to San Francisco? We answer these questions better than anybody. Here are two of our favorite examples: