A new travel company aims to ease the pains of the pandemic and disrupt the industry
Planning a trip has always been a challenge, but never more so than today.
Pandemic-related travel policies and rules, and the confusing booking and cancellation policies associated with them, are constantly changing across the world. Even savvy travelers don’t know where they can travel, when is the best time to leave, and what the situation will be on the ground once they arrive.
To ease these hassles and improve the travel experience, a new membership company, Originharnesses the power of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, and combines them with personalization by local travel experts.
Co-founded by technology executives Eli Bressert (formerly of Apple) and Tamar van de Paal (of Google and Nextdoor), the “personal travel assistant” app Origin offers members access to personalized information and real-time human assistance at every moment of a trip. journey, from planning to execution.
“We created Origin because modern travel has become extremely complicated and we believe that transformational travel empowers people to live their dreams,” said Bressert, himself a travel enthusiast. “The obstacle of planning trips, the time they consume and [the lack of] insider knowledge prevents people from maximizing their travel experiences,” he says.
In mid-January, the company announced more than $5 million in seed funding (led by Project A) for this “travel assistant service” that will help users design tailor-made trips.
How the Origin app works
Interested travelers sign up for a $3,000 annual subscription, which entitles them to unlimited trip planning, unlimited trip reviews (before or during a trip), and 24/7 support .
To maximize its value, the simple-to-use Origin app collects information from members about their preferences, interests, style and values. AI offers data on details like the best flight times, top-rated accommodations, sustainable destinations, and more. And machine learning continuously incorporates data from a member’s past trips to improve the relevance of future recommendations.
Users can choose to communicate electronically, through the app, or with real people if they choose.
Local expertise is provided by a network of on-site “travel curators” based around the world, currently in Spain, Argentina, UK, Netherlands, New York, California, Texas and soon in other places in Asia. In addition to their in-depth knowledge, all of them have already been expatriates in these destinations.
The company establishes preferred rates and benefits with accommodation, dining and experience partners (such as room upgrades and free breakfasts), saving money by cutting out the middleman (e.g., resellers and travel agents) and connecting travelers directly with operators.
Members receive a personalized itinerary without having to coordinate all the different aspects of the trip themselves. All travel-related information is organized and accessible on their smartphones or tablets without having to open PDFs or read long email threads.
The company also tries to ensure that the human elements of serendipity and surprise (in the form of a traveler’s favorite snack, a special event at a destination, or a wellness amenity) are part of every trip.
Is Origin for you?
The fixed cost of membership is relatively modest for frequent flyers who travel several times a year. The convenience of the app will also appeal to anyone planning a complex trip (e.g. stops in multiple countries, trips to exotic locations, multi-generational trips, etc.).
Of course, Origin and its backers are banking on the growing number of Millennials and Gen X travelers who understand the value that adding technology and machine learning brings to the convenience and enjoyment of trip.
The Origin Travel Assistant is currently available in the Apple App Store and will soon launch on Google Play. A $400 trial option is available for travelers interested in experiencing a tour package before signing up for membership.
Learn more about Origin at Company Website.