We caught up with Nico Crisafulli of AirTreks to get the scoop on a great travel planning tool: TripPlanner.
For those who have yet to hear the good word, what in a nutshell is AirTreks?
AirTreks is a service that customizes complex multi-destination and around the world plane tickets providing close attention to customer service and value.
Usually people start out with TripPlanner, pricing out their favorite and most cost-effective route, then submit it to one of our Personal Travel Consultants where they get it tweaked for maximum savings and efficiency.
What was the inspiration for TripPlanner?
Well, TripPlanner has been around a while. About 15 years in fact. It was started because its original designers wanted a tool that made getting fares for complicated itineraries and round the world trips possible, even fun. We already had a huge database of private consolidator fares for various routings (for example: New York to London to Delhi, or Bangkok to Hong Kong to Los Angeles) so we built an interactive tool to help bring those fares together for anyone who visited in a simple and functional interface. It seemed the perfect way to fit it all together.
A few iterations later we have the version you see now. It’s smooth and fast and the prices are super reliable.
One of the reasons it’s so fast is because it doesn’t actually search the network for available seats for every flight like other trip planners do. Rather it takes an overview based on our fares database and gives a price range that covers all variables, from seasonality to flight availability. If the route stays close its original version, and there’s some advance notice, the final price will almost always fall within the originally quoted range.
As our CEO says, “It’s a tool that helps the consumer.”
What’s your favorite feature of TripPlanner?
TripPlanner doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles, but what it does do, it does very well, and that’s to give users an idea of how much their best trip will cost without having to go into too much detail about it, since they may not even know what those details are yet.
This is actually unique – most other instant price calculators need this info, which makes the process all the more time consuming.
TripPlanner is simple and straightforward and takes virtually no time to get a rate. Once a person is happy with their route and price and they submit it to a travel consultant the process goes pretty quick. I’m sure it’s because your trigger finger starts to get a little itchy by that point!
This one’s a more personal question: what do you love most about working for AirTreks?
AirTreks has put together many thousands of trips in our history, from very complex to pretty straightforward but always to the satisfaction of people that can’t or don’t want to do it on their own. It always makes me feel good to know that every day we’re helping people make their dreams of traveling the world a reality. Travel is a very personal thing for people, so it’s great to able to help enrich people’s life in that way.
Thanks for the inside scoop, Nico. We can’t wait to start planning our next trip and will test the TripPlanner tool for ourselves next.