It’s the balance between carefully-selected tastemaker recommendations and a distinct technological platform that separates Journy from the array of competitive travel services presently available. They also have a very uncommon and cost-efficient pricing platform (but more on that later). First, it’s necessary to mention that Journy doesn’t only recommend options when traveling, but also handles the reservations (from hotels to restaurants and activities). The technology makes it easy, but the locals they’ve partnered with for recommendations—top chefs, hoteliers and more—lend a personal touch that surpasses those of peer-generated options and keeps more fresh than lists from a singular expert.
“Typical concierge services can help you make arrangements and transact experiences that you already know you want to have,” co-founder Leiti Hsu explains to CH. “We take care of bookings and reservations but also specialize in helping you discover new things, like that light-filled cafe in Paris or that hidden courtyard in Barcelona,” she adds. Hsu and her co-founder Susan Ho have spent years hand-picking their local experts—and it’s a crop that continues grow across the 51 cities they’re already located within. Beyond chefs (and sommeliers), they’ve tapped into local fashion brands, photographers and many more. Their scope of a city is built upon broad cultural recommendations to strike at every need.
Back to their pricing model: it’s actually by the day. “We can deliver this highly personalized service starting at just $15 per day of your trip, effectively democratizing the traditional luxury travel agent model,” Hsu explains. “Modern travelers are discerning and busy, yet they reject opaque travel agent pricing with hidden booking fees in the hundreds, even thousands of dollars.” This is a far less expensive route to take than most services. It’s also time-saving; in essence cutting out time spent on Foursquare or Yelp, TripAdvisor and more—and the time required to organize all that information in an itinerary. Within the app, one can view their complete itinerary, as well as a map overlay.
“Our most requested city is Tokyo, by far,” Hsu notes. It’s double that of their second most requested: Paris. Tokyo makes a great case study for the offerings. “The language and culture are huge challenges, and we handle everything, from maps, directions and making reservations. We even have the ability to find you an amazing spot to do dinner when everywhere else is closed on New Years. There’s no more sitting in your hotel room and calling up 20 places.” Hsu herself, before launching Journy, was known as a culinary connector and has spent years traveling the world’s food scene—and collecting individuals of the same ilk. When that’s combined with the intuitive UI of Journy, and an experimental pricing system, it puts a lot at one’s fingertips.
Barcelona images courtesy of Alice Gao, Mexico City images courtesy of Edward Sczudlo