TRVL.com is an online platform, which gives travellers an insight into the secret world of the travel industry. You can make hotel bookings with an industry discount of 20 - 65%, and through TRVL.com you can also earn commission for every booking made for yourself or others. TRVL.com chooses to pay travellers their commission, in a currency of their choosing, using TransferWise API integration for ease, speed, and low costs. We talk to TRVL.com’s Chief Product Officer and Co-founder, Alex Keynes, to learn more.
TRVL.com has been around since 2010 - but has been through a number of changes to become the travel booking platform 2.0 it is today. Founded by National Geographic photographer and global traveller Jochem Wijnands as a magazine for iPad, TRVL.com quickly grew to 2 million users and created software to publish directly to mobile, called PRSS. Apple acquired PRSS, and the whole team moved to California to use their knowhow to build Apple News.
When that shipped, Jochem quit his job to return to TRVL.com and, together with Alex, turned it into a travel booking platform, which answers the question: “What if high quality, insightful, personal travel advice was available online, whenever you needed it?”
Alex explains more, “Regular travel brands offer a one-size-fits-all experience without any interest in a traveller’s personal preferences or wishes. Curated and personalised travel advice - the sort you’d get from a trusted friend - is missing. As a result, you end up making sub-optimal travel decisions.”
The solution Alex and Jochem came up with, was to incentivise travellers to share their unique travel experiences, and give them a way to access preferential prices for their own travel. Putting the power back into the hands of travellers - instead of agents paid a fee to show the image the tourist board wants to promote.
This approach is an industry first, Alex says, “TRVL.com is the only company that pays travellers a ‘travel agent commission’ to reward them for the work they are doing. We’re the only website that is transparent about prices and room availability, and doesn’t try to rush you into booking a room.”
TRVL.com lets travellers book hotel rooms with heavy industry discounts of up to 65%, and also earn a commission. You might simply claim a commission for your own bookings, but you could also use your personal insight into the great places you’ve visited, to help friends and family make bookings too. And of course, with discounted rooms for the traveller - and a commission paid to the booker - everyone wins.
The whole ethos of TRVL.com encourages word of mouth sharing, and with global press coverage, and over 50,000 members in 120 countries, this is an approach which seems to be paying off. “The marketing budgets of other travel websites run in the billions,” says Alex, “but TRVL.com has the popular vote.”
Since its creation, TRVL.com has been using TransferWise as a smart way to automate commission payments, which can be made in a wide range of currencies, to travellers. This was a choice made thanks to personal experience - Alex first came across TransferWise, as an Australian expat living and working in Amsterdam in 2015, when he needed to make personal international payments, and wanted to avoid the cost and hassle of using a regular bank.
Other payment methods proved to be too complex and costly for TRVL.com, leading Alex to choose TransferWise for business as well as personal use.
TRVL.com’s system is impressively slick: “When a traveller claims a reward to be paid out to them, they indicate their banking details on TRVL’s website. Having received their banking details, TRVL sets them up as the recipient on TransferWise and makes a payout to them in their local currency (all done automatically via API).” This means a lower admin cost, less time spent by the team on payouts, and lower fees. And that ultimately translates to more money in the pocket of the traveller.
Set up with the TransferWise API was well supported, says Alex, “We received a lot of help with the integration of the API and the automation of the daily payouts,” which ultimately makes it quicker and more simple to operate. “We now tackle the daily payouts in a cost efficient way and with a minimal burden on our company,” he adds.
Thanks to the deceptively simple, but inspired idea behind TRVL.com, everyone can be a travel agent - and we can all get more out of our own travel adventures, with great, honest recommendations from travellers we trust.
If you're inspired after reading about TRVL.com, than you can sign up to TRVL here and receive a bonus of US 20 on your first cash-back claim.
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