Summer is coming and this means that a lot of people are looking to go on holiday. Lost between the high offer of comparators who spot good deals, you loose a lot of time just to buy your plane ticket And what if someone could do this for you, for less money?
Crowdsourcing applied to the travel industry
“Crowdsourcing” (literally, outsourcing of the online community) is a practice that has revolutionised certain sectors such as IT, communication or even jobs in the collaborative industry. The success of Wikipedia (content) or My Major Company (musical production) illustrates this phenomenon. Even in the travel industry, crowdsourcing has taken its importance.
Imagine a platform on the web that outsources your research for plane tickets to a community of experts who work in competition to find you the best deal. Those experts named « flight hackers » are capable to find you the best price and thanks to that you gain precious time in the organisation of your holiday.
Those « flight hackers » really know all the tricks and techniques to find plane tickets that are up to 25 % or 30 % cheaper than those who use the classic techniques, i.e. Airline booking ploys, fuel dump, buying during the night, minimizing hidden taxes…
The collaborative comparators
Founded in France in late 2012 by Charles Hugo Guilhamon and Bailey, Darjeelin is a collaborative platform that, compared to the best comparator, saves on average 25 % on long-haul flights.
Today, this start-up is based on an international community of more than 300 « flight hackers »: Travel (travel) agents, professionals of the industry, frequent travellers,… etc.
How does it work in practice?
- You tell them which price you’ve found on the Internet.
- Experts have then 4 hours to skim the web and to ensure you that your price is unbeatable.
- If they estimate that there aren’t any other tickets that are significantly less expensive, you’ll receive an email validating the price you’ve find yourself. If the experts find a better price, you’ll receive a proposition of a ticket.
- If the ticket interests you, you’ll be asked to pay a 10% amount that corresponds to the difference between your price and the price the expert has found. Hence you pay the expert for his efforts.
Finally you can validate the flight proposal and get access to all the details to book the flight yourself.
For example, if you find a to go from Paris to Washington at 1000€ and an expert finds one for 800€, he’ll ask you to pay 10% on the amount you have saved up, so 20€.
To run the website, they also ask a contribution of 1€ for each launched research.
The start-up is promising and has already won several awards for its innovative concept. They have won the competition of innovative start-up in e-tourism, organised by the Tourism and Technology Club (September 2013).
Likewise, Todd Sullivan and Lauren Mcleod have created Flightfox in 2012 in Canada. With headquarters based in Canada, this start-up also has offices in the United States and Australia.
With Flightfox, the principle is almost the same but the operation is slightly different. The cost varies depending on the type of trip.
This is how it works: you launch a competition among experts to obtain the cheapest ticket. Each competition lasts three days and the « fligh hacker » who finds the cheapest ticket, receives 75 % of the fees paid by the traveller.
For example, to call in a flight hacker for a simple flight, you’ll be charged €35.
If your demand is much more complicated, the price will increase. If you wish to travel across Asia without a specific itinerary, you’ll be in contact with an expert for €70 and he will identify the itinerary with the cheapest flight according to your preferences.
In consequence, the price varies depending on the launched competition (complexity of the itinerary). Most of the competitions are paid between €35 and €70.
At the moment, the website is only available in English.