It’s easy to feel like you’re missing out on a great restaurant or a nice museum when you’re walking around an unknown city. Journy wants to help you get the most out of your next vacation by planning the best itinerary for you.
Unlike many startups out there, Journy isn’t a concierge app to book flights and hotels. Journy is (mostly) about all the other activities.
“Booking a flight and booking hotels, you can do that pretty easily. But the challenge is: ‘what do I do when I get to my destination?’” co-founder and CEO Susan Ho told me.
Let’s say you’re traveling to Seoul for the first time and haven’t done your homework. You answer a survey based on what you want to do and your requirements so that Journy can come up with an itinerary. The first questions are very broad, but it can get more specific later on — for instance, if you say that you’re into shopping, Journy could ask you what type of store, what style, etc.
A few days later, you get a preview of the itinerary. You can either accept or decline — Journy cots $15 per day of itinerary. The company can book tables, hotels and more, of course. Finally, Journy doesn’t take a cut from restaurants or partners — this way, you can be sure that the startup is trying to come up with the best recommendations, not the most lucrative ones.
Journy is live in 51 cities and is adding new cities over time. The company sends you a PDF itinerary but you can also load it up in the iOS app.
And yet, this type of startups often have scalability issues. When asked about this, co-founder Leiti Hsu told me that “the holy grail is to use automation and curation for these lifestyle products.”
Over time, Journy plans to build out a library of itineraries so that it takes way less time to send back a customized itinerary. Right now, Journy is still doing a lot of things manually. But the startup will have to automate steps as much as possible if it wants to succeed.
“It takes one hour to build an itinerary. We can build itineraries for new cities in about a week,” Susan Ho said. “If you’re a college student, we could teach you how to build itineraries and that’s really the model and why we don’t need a huge team to do this. In the back end, we’re building a recommendation algorithm based on similarity scores.”
Of course, Journy will always have to tweak these itineraries depending on the number of days, the time of the year and the specific requirements. But automization could speed up the itinerary-building process and make Journy’s business model work.