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Trekiz claims first web 3.0 booking platform (09.06.2011)

September 25, 2011

(Published in TTG 09.06.2011)

If you were only just starting to get your head around web 2.0, one company is now claiming it has developed the first web 3.0 travel platform. Matthew Parsons reports

If web 2.0 was about sharing and being “social”, Beijing-based Trekiz says it is now time to get personal, and flexible, with web 3.0.

Launched in March, the Trekiz booking platform covers inbound and domestic China travel, incorporating flight and hotel bookings, plus activities.

It uses a multi-layered supply chain, and allows users to drag activities, flights and hotels on to a timeline. It is possible to swap elements around, and each movement displays how the change affects the cost and timing.

A stand-out feature is to see the range of activities on offer in China, using local suppliers – contracts that Trekiz says it has spent a lot of time negotiating.

More than 400 are currently on offer, across 33 provinces. These include a bird-watching and Buddhism tour in Qinghai, looking after pandas at the Chengdu Panda Research Base, or even building your own Terracotta Warrior statue.

Planning tool

“Things that weren’t formerly integrated are now integrated. That’s how we define web 3.0,” Aliza Starr, Trekiz marketing manager, told TTG.

Trekiz is now looking to expand its technology and partner with the UK travel trade.

“We can white-label our website with travel agents,” Starr says.

“They have a hard time on the spot – arranging packages takes a lot of time, and so costs money.

“Using our system, agents can either say to customers they are a partner with us, or we remove our own logo, and they add their own. We are working on the structure,
but we do pay commission.”

One possibility, Starr adds, is for agents to mark up the prices themselves.

Although Trekiz is priced in dollars, packages can be booked in any country, and Starr says that pricing will soon be available in sterling.

“We’re also looking to add more operators, and do more B2B. We are in talks with operators from the UK as well as Italy, France and Africa.”

Original vision

Trekiz has been in the making since 2000. Current chief executive Wenqing Tian was a second-year MBA student at the London Business School, looking to develop a “smart travel platform” to allow global travellers to “DIY” their itineraries.

However, at that time the market, and existing technology, were not available.

In 2008, Tian brought in Yale graduate Matthew Jaskol as a partner, and last year the company picked up a “Top 100 Global Winner” award from technology magazine Red Herring.

Previous recipients have included Facebook, Twitter, Google, Skype and YouTube, and the publication claims it is “among the first to recognise companies that will change the way we live and work”.

Whether Trekiz really is web 3.0, and represents the future of travel planning, remains to be seen, but as a time-saving and intuitive planning tool, it could prove useful for travel professionals in the UK.

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