JetBlue Airways’ investment arm JetBlue Technology sees a billion dollar opportunity in overhauling planning and booking multi-day package tours, and has made an investment in experiential package planner Stride.
In a recent blog post, JetBlue Technology Ventures managing director of operations and partnerships Amy Burr concluded multi-day package tours, an industry worth roughly USD300 billion, “has been slow to digitise”.
Ms Burr remarked that travellers experience massive fragmentation when researching and booking multi day tours. “There are 18 million tour takers served by over 2,000 tour operators offering more than 300,000 itineraries in the global marketplace,” she explained. “Out of the 105,000 travel agents in the US, no single agent knows all 300,00 itinerary options.”
Stride’s research has shown that 70% of packages end up being booked offline and manually with the operator or through travel agents. The company has extended the single platform experience to multi day adventures, “and has also realised how challenging it can be for travellers to find trips best suited to them”, Ms Burr stated.
Stride has created and launched TripFinder, which it bills as the first online matchmaker that pairs travellers with their perfect trip. Through TripFinder, customers answer questions about their location and experience preferences and refines a traveller’s vacation style based on elements that include pace, level of accommodation, size of a travel party and budget. TripFinder then analyses 30,000 professionally planned adventures from 164 countries and more than 1,200 tour companies. Customers can then book their travel based on 100,000 reviews.
“Stride’s detailed understanding of travellers’ needs and commitment to improving the customer experience were driving forces in our decision to invest,” Ms Burr concluded. “We know consumers want to have amazing travel experiences made as seamless and easy as possible for them and we love that Stride offers a scope beyond that of single travel agents.”