A german internet startup wants to stir up the market for extraordinary travel.
Five young entrepreneurs from Stuttgart and Berlin, Germany, make use of this and founded „pocketvillage“, a web-based platform for extraordinary niche travel products with a social twist. The technological highlight: a refined search process which offers travelers a unique personalization of inspiring choices, e.g. by letting them playfully pack a suitcase or draw their dream landscape. The international tourism trade fair ITB in Berlin has invited the founders to present their project to the public – they will launch the site there on 11 March 2011. Up to now, users from more than 100 countries already visited www.pocketvillage.com and over 1000 fans - before the site even launched - follow the company news on Facebook.
Stuttgart/Berlin, 10 February 2011.
„The travel market clearly shows that many people are looking for extraordinary experiences off the beaten track“, says Florian Harkort (27), founder and CEO of pocketvillage, but thorough research on the internet also revealed: „there is no Opodo or Expedia for vacations off the beaten track, but rather a myriad number of very specialised providers e.g. for volunteering holidays or round the world trips.“ Furthermore, travellers often don't know that these offers actually exist and if they do, they find it difficult to choose from them. „One week at an all-inclusive resort, that's what everybody is familiar with and knows what to expect from – a cooking course with locals in Morocco, on the other hand, is something truly unique but the mental threshold to actually book this experience is quite high“, explains Martin Hümmer (26), co-CEO of pocketvillage.
The idea the founders came up with during a six-month-long trip through Africa and in which they invested all their savings: a web-based platform which collects and presents the offers of niche providers from all over the world in one central place. This will be combined with an integrated search engine which allows users to enter their individual wishes and receive personalised recommendations. For example they can pack a virtual suitcase and the offers will automatically adjust depending on what things they decide to pack: a scuba gear and a museum guide book will thus lead to offers which combine scuba diving with arts and culture.
Playful inspiration which makes planning the next vacation fun!
"Integrating the data of thousands of tours and accommodations from different partners was a lot of work and caused us many sleepless nights. But assigning numerous attributes to every single trip or hotel to enable the personalization of the offers was the real challenge", says Jann Kleen (25), who is responsible for the technology behind pocketvillage.
One year later they have already moved into bigger offices twice, as since than four interns from Malaysia, Bulgaria and the Netherlands have joined the team. Many young talents heard about the project through the international student network AIESEC and got enthusiastic about it. Various partners in the travel industry were convinced by the idea, more than 1,000 fans are following the development of pocketvillage on Facebook without having ever actually seen the website, and when a private test version was put online more than 300 interested people signed up to receive an access key within days. The feedback so far: „Amaaaazing!“, as one of the fans on Facebook puts it.
There's not a lot of time left before the official launch at ITB in Berlin, the world's biggest tourism trade fair, on 11 March 2011.
„Giving up is not an option – as long as the coffee machine works, we'll keep on programming“, says Martin. The others look up, quickly nod, and turn their attention back to their computers. On 9 March they will get in the car and go to Berlin – where 200,000 visitors from all over the world are expected.
A good start.
pocketvillage provides travelers with an inspiring and intuitive search engine to find and enjoy truly exceptional travel experiences.
CEOs: Florian Harkort & Martin Hümmer
Co-founder and Director of External Communications
please go to www.pocketvillage.com to download our complete press kit.
fon: 0049 (0) 15152594968
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