Wanderlust (pre-launch)

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Aron SebastianMaker@aronkuisch
Thank you for the hunt @chrismessina! I'm one of the founders of Wanderlust. We found that traditional travel OTA’s like SkyScanner, Expedia, and FareCompare often don't cater to travelers who don't know where they want to go. Also, there's limitless travel information available nowadays, but we believe this is all very poorly organized in general. As a result, the stress of planning a trip can be quite overwhelming. That’s what Wanderlust is out to change. We're still very early stage, but I'm more than happy to answer any questions the PH community may have! PS. We're actively recruiting developers! Drop me a line if you're interested (aron@wanderlust.ly). PPS. I might be slow to respond. It's nearly 4 am here. Edit: We're still optimizing our website for mobile. Our apologies if it looks like a mess.
Chris MessinaHunter@chrismessina · Product designer & entrepreneur
@aronkuisch any screenshots of what you're building?
Dave Ambrose@daveambrose · Steadfast Venture Capital
@chrismessina @aronkuisch this is a really tough space to play in (see @garrytan's old post on the ups and downs of travel planning startups: http://blog.garrytan.com/travel-...). how are you thinking about overcoming these hurdles?
Garry Tan@garrytan · Managing Partner, Initialized Capital
@chrismessina @aronkuisch @daveambrose For the record though, I'd rather be wrong about this idea. It'd be great if people did travel more and/or a service could address it with a fantastic experience.
Aron SebastianMaker@aronkuisch
@chrismessina @daveambrose @garrytan We are definitely aware of how tough a space travel (planning) is. For us, how to stay top-of-mind and monetization stand out as hurdles. We’re addressing these, first of all, by building Wanderlust in such a way that the site will not only be used when you’re actually planning your trip, but at every moment you’d like to ‘escape’ from the 9-5. That’s our hook, the feeling that we want our users to associate Wanderlust with (@rrhoover). We’re hoping that the ability to browse their dream destinations and see what life over there is like will keep them coming back. We’re exploring different options to accomplish this, think local bloggers, photographers, city boards or an overview of the local music scene. Next to that, we try to target a specific segment of the market. Our main focus will be on 18-34 year old Europeans - the Pinterest/Tumblr crowd. We think that they will be the most receptive to the hook mentioned earlier. Also, Europeans simply travel more. Perhaps because of geographical proximity, cultural differences or the fact that all of Europe has paid time off by law. A second issue, next to possible infrequency of use, is making money. We don’t expect an affiliate model alone to be able to sustain our business in its initial phase. We also feel like a lot of the existing travel booking sites have been corrupted by their dependence on advertising. They don’t display results on one page, because they want you to visit multiple pages. We’re coming from a different motivation. We care about UX and hope we can get more loyal users in doing so. This means that we will have to find other ways. Again, we have different options in mind, but try not too focus too much and too quickly on monetization. All in all, articles like Garry's definitely keep us sharp, but also show that (1) the problem exists (and is something quite a few people care about), and (2) a good solution has not been found yet.
Anuj Adhiya@anujadhiya · Engagement/Analytics at GrowthHackers
@daveambrose re: @garrytan's post. This one gets referenced a lot. I'm also working on a travel startup and my co-founder and I discussed it at length when we first read it. Here's what we think... In our opinion, frequency of need is a non-issue in the travel space or any other. There are many other spaces where lack of frequent visits has not been a barrier to success (eg real estate, health care). Nor is name recall/retention an issue - IF you create a great first impression i.e. delight your customer the first time and give them something they really like, they are unlikely to ever forget you. In our opinion, the key issues to cracking this space (and these are beyond building a great product that people will find useful which is crazy hard anyway!): 1. Getting new users from free channels/biz dev 2. Getting new users from free channels/biz dev 3. Getting new users from free channels/biz dev Most startups look at user acquisition as a secondary consideration to the product. In the travel space, it has to be at least an equal priority, if not an even higher one. You HAVE TO figure out how to hack user acquisition from free (or very cost effective) channels or you will fail. The sooner that we start thinking about that the better. 4. Making money. If you can acquire millions of users, this becomes significantly easier. 5. Breadth/size of the space. This is a huge space with tons of variables and different personas. You have to figure out a way to make this work to your advantage. For example, most travel startups (based in the US), seem to think that users only exist in the US. There are millions of users, especially in fast-growing developing countries, who are pretty much being ignored. Another example - if you can figure out how to service the whole space well (and I know that's a BIG if), then at any given time you are going to be catering to some kind of user (increasing your likelihood of reaching millions) unlike a niche service that requires to scale based on a very specific user persona. If you can keep acquiring new users cost effectively and delighting them with your product, we believe you will succeed in the travel space. Most startups can't do this and that's why they fail. They don't fail because of the frequency of need or name recall. cc @chrismessina @aronkuisch
Sumeet Shah@pe_feeds · Chief Strategy Officer, NewsPicks USA
Been looking for something like this.
Aron SebastianMaker@aronkuisch
@chrismessina I'm afraid that we're not ready to provide you with screenshots just yet. I'd be more than happy to do so when we are though!
Chris MessinaHunter@chrismessina · Product designer & entrepreneur
@aronkuisch ok, no problem!
Isaiah (Duty) Steinfeld@isaiahduty · Nike EIR | Past: Intuit, Lyft, NeonGiant
I love this, I tried solving a similar problem in the travel space back in 2012 with https://angel.co/microtrip-it my first startup. I think it is definitely doable, but we were just a little early. Did this ever ship? I'd love to check it out if you are still working on it. 4 years later and there is still a lot I agree with in @garrytan's post. Looking back, I think our approach might have been too narrow, it could have been a great feature on top of a bigger startup like Airbnb. Timing is a funny thing.