Noken, a company that aims to make trip planning easier for
the venturesome do-it-yourself traveler, launched on Thursday.
Whereas travelers who use online agencies can spend many
hours researching and booking a trip, those using Noken have an itinerary
created for them, complete with Noken's recommendations for accommodations and
activities based on a traveler's trip duration and budget. Noken calls the itineraries "travel
The traveler can adjust the itinerary by adding or removing
activities and changing the accommodations.
The company has launched with itineraries in Iceland,
Portugal and Japan, with plans to expand to other destinations. In-country
transportation is included in the travel blueprints, but international air is
To craft an itinerary, Noken starts by
researching a country through guidebooks and talking to experts in the field
and locals like tourism boards and other travel professionals, said co-founder Marc Escapa. Team members
narrow down a list of potential activities and accommodations, then personally
visit the country and experience the products to make final selections of what
they will offer consumers.
Once the trip is booked, the traveler is given an app guide
that includes the itinerary, reservations and a day-by-day guide. Customers have
access to Noken's experience team for assistance before or during travel via
phone, email or in-app chat.
"You have the guidance you need to feel like you have a
plan," Noken co-founder Emily Brockway said.
Noken gets a commission from activities and accommodations
sold. It also charges a user fee of $5 per person for each day of the trip.
Brockway said the company will interact with customers
before, during and after travel. For instance, it might send trip countdown
emails, articles to read, lists of movies filmed in a destination or playlists
filled with songs from local artists.
"We're able to do things for travelers that they've
never associated with travel before," she said.