Serial Entrepreneur Launches Voyando, Aims To Reimagine The Way We Approach Travel

By May 5, 2014

Voyando is launching to reimagine the way we approach travel and revolutionize the online travel shopping experience.

Founded by a serial entrepreneur, Voyando connects would-be travelers to a global online network of expert travel bookers. Users set the preferences and requirements for their trips and the bookers compete amongst themselves to arrange the most enticing travel package. Select among the available offerings, and pay a small fee — that often covers itself — to avoid the redundant and infuriating process that is online travel shopping. For a small fee (averaging between 10 and 50 dollars), travelers can save time and money in their travel shopping, and enjoy a great trip without the hassle of endless price-hikes and comparisons.

“The internet brings travel shoppers an incredible ease of access and array of choice,” says Founder Bart Kappenburg, who started and sold a number of companies prior to Voyando, “but all those options also mean confusion. Now the essential problem isn’t ‘where do you go to get a deal on travel?’ it’s ‘how do you know the deal you’re getting is the best?’ No one wants to wake up and find out they just overpaid for a trip, or could have gotten a comparable offering for a fraction of the price. And that apprehension is what Voyando is trying to eliminate. We want to separate the benefits of internet shopping from the anxiety of the internet marketplace.

Kappenburg explains that travel shopping, like the rest of commerce, is gradually migrating to the internet. In 2012, there was a 10.7% growth overall growth in online travel purchasing, according to Adobe Digital, including an over 17% hike in online car rental and a 13.5% growth in online travel agency booking. Some $136.4 billion in travel offerings were purchased online in the United States alone, according to eMarketer. Travel itself, of course, is an enormous and far-reaching industry, with over $2 trillion in total spending within the United States, and $600 billion on direct spending alone, according to US Travel. With its continued forward momentum, and the rise in mobile booking in particular — more than 40% of online travel inquiries now come from mobile devices, according to HeBS digital — online travel is an industry with immense potential moving forward.

Online travel offerings, however, do not necessarily translate to a smoother shopping experience. The Atmosphere Research Group found that an average online shopper can visit as many as 22 different travel sites before making a purchase. And shoppers go through an average of roughly 10 pageviews per website according to Adobe Digital.

“Shoppers know what they want,” explains Kappenburg, “right up to the point where they see what’s out there. Then they start doubting themselves. A trip to the beach in, say, Jamaica, becomes a trip to a beach in Indonesia, becomes a trip to the Mediterranean, becomes a trip to somewhere where maybe there’s not even a beach. It’s a dizzying experience, to be exposed to so many offerings by so many providers at such variant costs ranges.

“Then there’s the little price schemes. You go on one site, and once you refresh your search after checking another site, the deal you thought you had vanished, and what you’re left with is hundreds of dollars more expensive. Voyando gets rid of all that. Rather than scan the web to find the right deal for the right trip, a customer can scan through a set of prepackaged offerings, all of which have already been vetted by experts. Someone else has done that work for you, and you get to pick from the best of the best, as it were. Voyando prides itself on offering better choices with less stress. It’s travel booking the way it should be: a relaxed start to an enjoyable trip.”

Kappenburg points to sites like Suitest, Zaptravel, Peek, Adioso and Tingo as examples of startups looking to capitalize on what he describes as the “stagnancy of the major travel sites.

“If you look at an Expedia or a Tripadvisor, they have lots of information, but who is providing it? They have lots of options, but no frame of reference for deciding if those options are desirable or competitive. Voyando gives customers an expert filter. You’re still getting access to an Expedia or a Tripadvisor, but you’re only seeing the end result of a process, and you can compare that result to others and decide which one is right with a higher degree of clarity. There’s a small fee involved, but with the savings, it can easily pay for itself. And your time and energy can be better spent doing something else. Like packing.”

Voyando is the best of what the internet has to offer travelers, without the stress, and at a small fee per trip, Voyando is poised to take advantage of a growing trend in a massive industry.

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