You’re planning a trip and the world is your oyster. The problem is, it’s a big world out there – where to go and what to do and who has time to plan it all? Enter Holidayen, who are here to help you create a trip and itinerary customized to your needs and tastes – and let’s you book it all right there and then. The unique recommendation engine provides personalized recommendations for sights and activities based on the preferences of the user, and the automatic itinerary builder creates an optimized route for every single day of the trip. Founder Utkala Mohanty tells us more.
Holidayen is an automatic, personalized travel planning service that helps travelers effortlessly plan and book amazing holiday experiences. It allows users to create completely customized travel packages, offering recommendations and booking options for attractions, activities, hotels, tours and authentic cultural experiences in more than 300 destinations worldwide. Holidayen also provides an optimized itinerary for every single day of the trip that can be accessed via any device and shared with friends. By partnering with Expedia and Viator, we have ensured that travelers get the best deals for any itinerary at a given destination.
We have now launched a streamlined multi-city trip-planning feature that helps travelers effortlessly plan trips spanning multiple destinations in one go.
How is it different?
As per a Google study, online travel bookers on an average visit 32.5 websites for planning a trip. We believe this is because currently available resources for travel planning are not completely integrated – they either have aggregated information on destinations, but under-developed functionality for planning and booking, or allow for some level of automatic planning, but offer only a limited range of options and bookings at a destination. Holidayen offers booking options on a wide range of things to do at a destination, and the differentiating factor is the level of personalization it provides while making the entire trip planning process a breeze. With Holidayen, travelers can plan and book entire multi-city trips within minutes.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
There are more than 1 billion international trips taken annually, with tourism receipts topping a whopping trillion dollars. About 90% of these trips are planned online, and the online travel booking market is estimated to be $300 billion. The numbers are staggering, with healthy growth rates projected. Geographically, our initial target segment is the tourism market of Americas and Europe that accounts for more than half of the total global tourism receipts. We are targeting the demographic of tech savvy travelers who love discovering new places and experiences, but do not have the time to spend weeks researching places and finding things to do that match their interests.
What is the business model?
Our trip-planning feature is completely free to use, so that users can create different itineraries and compare them on budget, time and other factors without paying for the convenience of doing so. We get commissions on bookings made through the website, and on our paid Android apps.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within 6 months?
We have an exciting 6 months ahead of us. In line with our overall intent to provide a totally hassle-free and delightful trip planning experience, we will offer enhanced personalization options for booking flights and hotels. We will also launch iOS apps for travelers who plan on the go. We have seen good growth in website traffic and user engagement so far, and with the launch of our multi-city trip planning feature, we are expecting exponential growth on these metrics over the next few months.
If you could be put in touch with one investor in the New York community who would it be and why?
We would love to get in touch with Josh Spear. His activity and prior experience in the online travel industry both as an entrepreneur and investor synergize with our future plans, and we believe that working with someone like him can be really beneficial to Holidayen.
What’s your favorite travel destination?
My favourite summer getaway is London. It’s a classic holiday destination, with innumerable options for all kinds of travelers. What I love most about London is that while it is vibrant, modern and cosmopolitan, its cultural and historical heritage has been well preserved. With more than 200 museums on every conceivable theme, I have always discovered something new and interesting every time I have been to the city. Visiting all the museums there is on my bucket list.
Why are you launching in New York?
New York has a great startup ecosystem and is a hub of creative activity, with a great number of early adopters. We believe that a creative environment with people who are appreciative of new technology is essential for developing disruptive ideas required in travel industry.