The journey takes you to the highest level. Planning? The lowest of the lows.
To begin with, there is the question of figuring out exactly where to go, booking the plane ticket, looking for accommodation and then, of course, last but not least, how to finance said plane ticket and accommodation. Now it connects all the additional obstacles that come with traveling in a post-pandemic world: airfare for an additional price and an abundance of cancellations and delays, among them. It’s stressful enough to make you wonder if all that rest and relaxation on the other side is worth it.
Enter VIP Traveler. VIP Traveler is a new free subscription service that uses “proprietary personalization technology to ensure the right trips reach the right people,” not unlike Stitch Fix. (For the uninitiated, Stitch Fix is a personal style service that, thanks largely to the subscription survey, offers users a totally personalized experience. VIP Traveler works, more or less, the same way.)
To put it to the test, I signed up for the free version of VIP Traveler. The survey includes 20 questions which obviously aim to establish a traveler profile. Examples include: “When you travel for pleasure, how do you usually fly?” “How much do you plan to spend at a resort per night?” “What kind of hotel do you tend to stay in?” “How does your work schedule affect your travels?” “When you travel for fun, who do you travel with?” and a series of “Would you rather”. It then concludes by asking which destinations you would like to visit.
I kept my answers honest: as they travel, they are rather halfway there. When I travel for pleasure, I almost always fly in economy. I’m not staying in hostels, but I’m not staying in 5-star resorts either. I use my points to travel, but I’m not exactly “The Points Guy”. I travel with my partner, my family and friends, depending on the occasion, but sometimes I also travel alone. The destinations I wanted to visit include cities in Australia, Italy, Africa and Greece.
I say all of this because, at least in my experience, there are an abundance of travel planning tools for thrifty travelers and just as many for luxury travelers, but there aren’t that many just for …regular travelers. Of course, VIP Traveler isn’t necessarily for any of these categories in particular, I just want to say I wasn’t exactly holding my breath for my results.
That said, my first set of recommendations included two of my all-time favorite cities and two others that I had long wanted to visit, neither of which I had mentioned in the survey, with a full rundown of places to stay and deals attached, which they placed these accommodations firmly within my budget. The following week, to my pleasant surprise, I received my new “Travel Finds” with all the new destinations that seemed, once again, very much in tune with my tastes. I couldn’t believe how good it looked know me despite never having booked anything and subsequently allowing them to extract more data. According to VIP Traveler co-founder Josh Borenstein, that’s exactly the point.
“It’s a place you come to when you want that trusty ‘travel buddy’ – someone to help guide you when you need inspiration, advise you when you want detailed information about a particular destination or hotel, and to help you get the most out of it. your trip when you decide where to go, “says Borenstein.” By this we mean not only the best rates, but also the benefits of not being an anonymous kayak booker or cold booking. When you book with us, you take care of yourself. “
For his part, Borenstein is no stranger to the travel space. In addition to being an avid traveler himself, he also co-founded a company specializing in flash sales, with a strong focus on travel. That said, his ultimate goal has always been to create a business that “makes it easy for people to take more trips and discover parts of the world that might not have been on their radar, but do it in a way that’s really different from” itself. old. ‘”That method, he argues, is mostly broken anyway.
“There’s just too much content and too much time wasted looking at options, and it’s hard to actually decipher the nuanced truth from review sites. We thought there was a way to personalize the travel booking experience through a combination of proprietary technology and the human touch of our connected “Travel Stylists”, says Borenstein.
In addition, he adds, “The situation on the ground changes weekly, both in terms of regulations and how hotels are coping with the post-pandemic race. Some hotels have lost control in terms of maintenance and cannot attract good staff while others do. It’s good to know which is which. Plus, the flexibility of our “buy now, travel later” options with free date changes and cancellations gives you more options.
That option only increases with the VIP Traveler + option, which gives members access to destination experts in the field for local advice, a personal “Travel Stylist” for personalized travel planning, 24/7 support on 7 and VIP benefits with all bookings. While certainly not the best option for the scarce traveler, for those who are jet-setters even a handful of times a year, it is worth the high (which some might consider) admission (currently $ 495 per year). year). In fact, according to Borenstein, your first trip with a VIP Traveler + membership is likely to pay for itself.
“Not only in terms of access to the best rates, but also for the experiences offered, access to opportunities you never knew and the ease with which you can contact us for those little details that you would never be able to ascertain or through a traditional online travel agent, “he says.” Even members who belong to platinum credit card travel services are unable to offer field advice or negotiate on your behalf for bespoke treatment. “
What if you are not at the market to book a trip? It is also a great reference point for travel information. In addition to your weekly “Travel Finds”, there is a bucket list function, which allows you to specify the destinations you are interested in. It’s what inspired Borenstein’s next trip to Banyan Tree’s new Buahan in Ubud, Bali. (“There is literally nothing like it in the world and we have access to an incredible opening offer.”) And, most likely because, I can’t stop dreaming of a trip of my own, to Corfu.
For more travel news, tips and information, sign up InsideHookThe Journey’s weekly travel newsletter.