Technology and travel-planning company Jubel has introduced
an online trip-planning tool that uses artificial intelligence to help
travelers find destinations and itineraries that match their preferences.
Jubel launched in 2015, said Nicolas Bergengruen,
its co-founder and chief marketing and business development officer. In
addition to regular trips, its surprise trips, on which travelers don't know
their final destination until the last minute, have been a popular offering.
But, Bergengruen said, the company wanted to create a
product that would automate trip planning, so work began on its new tool.
While Jubel is an IATA-accredited agency, Bergengruen said
it considers itself a technology company, not an agency. Jubel is not
affiliated with a consortium but instead selects its own preferred suppliers in
the more than 1,200 destinations in 100 countries to which it sends travelers.
Users can pay for an itinerary and book their trip through
the recommended suppliers themselves, or a Jubel travel advisor can book it for
them. Travelers pay a per-day fee based on the level of service they want. The
fee starts at $25 per person, per day. Within the next 12 months, Jubel hopes
to have inventory from the likes of Expedia and Skyscanner available on its
platform to give users the ability to book without leaving the Jubel site.
The trip-planning tool enables users to search for
destinations and update more than 20 variables of personalization, including
things like whether they are fast or slow travelers and the kind of scenery
they want to see. An algorithm takes into account the kind of travel they're
interested in. (Jubel has identified five styles: culture, relaxed nature,
active nature, ocean and "party purist.") It starts suggesting itineraries that
make a good match, and the matching algorithm will get smarter over time.
"In that way, it's a user-driven platform, and it helps
match people to the right combinations that are working the best," Bergengruen
A user's preferences replicate the conversation a traveler
would have with a travel agent, Bergengruen said. The map starts populating
with suggestions, and users will see a number of itineraries. When they find
one of interest, they are prompted to say they're interested in customizing it,
after which they will be connected to one of Jubel's travel advisors.
While Jubel's goal is to automate as much of the planning
and booking process as possible, Bergengruen said humans will play a role in
planning trips for as long as they are needed to ensure quality travel. That
could be forever, he said.
Bergengruen said he believes Jubel's main value proposition
is that it will work within a client's budget (starting at around $500 per
person, per week). He said the company's technology can offer clients a travel
product akin to what they would get working with a luxury travel advisor but at
a lower price, thanks to its level of automation.
Bergengruen said that Jubel's trip-planning technology has
already garnered interest from large companies in the industry. He added that
the company is talking to several others that are interested in its technology,
adding that white-labeling it is a possibility.