Startup spotlight: Q&A with Charles Ralston, Founder & CEO, TripStreak.com

charles-ralston-tripstreak-option-1“Startup spotlight” features companies on the rise in travel and innovation.

Headquarters: Atlanta, GA

Founder(s): Charles Ralston in 2014

Website: www.tripstreak.com

Social:

Twitter.com/TripStreak

Facebook.com/TripStreak

Linkedin.com/company/tripstreak

Instagram.com/tripstreak

Pinterest.com/tripstreak/

Angel.co/tripstreak

How did the idea of TripStreak.com come about?

TripStreak was born out of my own frustration as a frequent business and leisure traveler searching online for the best flight and hotel options. I was fed up with existing solutions and the massive amount of wasted time. I wasn’t alone; travelers like me needed greater efficiency in planning and booking trips. Each traveler has a unique set of preferences and processes. I wanted to create a product that could factor in those preferences and create a personalized booking experience.

How do you describe your product in a few lines?

Everyone wants time added back to their day; searching for trips should take minutes, not hours. TripStreak makes this possible by learning your travel preferences and delivering only the results relevant to you. We also help frequent flyers manage their accounts, maintain their elite status, and maximize their benefits.

What is your million-dollar-differentiator, the one thing that makes your company unique from other travel players?

We’ve found a way to give travelers the itinerary they want – every time – based on factors they choose, such as layover duration, seat type, airline, aircraft type, and more. We call this algorithm the TripScore®.

Were there any pivots along the way?

In our original planning, the goal was to enter the market as a metasearch site. Early in the development cycle, we determined we were better off launching as an online travel agency. TripStreak may evolve into a hybrid metasearch/OTA site someday, and we’re set up to do so.

What challenges do you anticipate having to overcome?

For any startup, gaining traction to sustainable user growth is common. Going up against huge companies like Expedia, that spend billions annually on marketing, is another challenge. However, we’re confident in TripStreak because it offers the personalization others just don’t have, and we’ve already gotten great feedback from our users.

How are you leveraging social media to raise awareness and user acquisition?

Social media allows us to interact with our users instantly, and get to know them better. We’ve made some great connections on Twitter with travelers who tweet us to say they love our site, or simply want to ask a question. Social media also helps us connect with travelers seeking destination inspiration. We share flight deals as soon as we find them, enabling our followers to hear about these deals faster than any other channel.

What led you to grow your business with Amadeus for Startups?

From the beginning, we wanted to work with a content provider that has startups in mind and will work with us throughout the process. Amadeus has been an excellent partner. We currently use Amadeus MetaPricer for our flight search, enabling us to get the best available airline pricing for our customers. Amadeus introduced us to Travel Team Consulting, who handles ticketing and fulfillment for our bookings. They’ve also advised us how to best navigate the industry.

Are there any new features or milestones coming up for your startup?

We recently rounded out our offering by adding hotels and cars. Hotels come with reviews from TrustYou to help you make the best choice. You can also sync your TripStreak account to your rewards programs to track balances and status, and rank programs. When searching for flights, hotels or cars, TripStreak gives a higher TripScore to results that match your preferred programs. Finally, travelers can use the shopping cart to book separate flight segments and add hotels and rental cars to craft the perfect trip or trips.

 

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