A new Travel Hack will save you money on your next hotel stay
One of the hardest parts of any vacation is finding the best place to stay. There are various factors to consider before booking accommodation – proximity to tourist attractions, spacious rooms, balconies with views, included amenities, good linens – and the list goes on. Of course the main thing stopping us from booking this hotel that we really wanting is the high price. Luxury doesn’t come cheap… but it could be on the cheap thanks to Tripscout’s latest product launch.
Tripscout, a social media travel empire with over 30 million followers on its many Instagram profiles, has presented probably the best travel hack in a long time. Now you can get incredibly discounted hotel rates with a simple DM. All you have to do is send the Instagram account @hotel a direct message saying “hotel”. Within seconds, you’ll receive a personalized link offering hotel discounts worldwide for up to 75% off.
To learn more about how Tripscout’s new hotel booking platform actually works and how it can save travelers money, we spoke with Tripscout founder Konrad Waliszewski. Read on for everything you need to know before booking your next hotel.
Can you start by explaining exactly what the new Tripscout hotel booking platform is?
We’re building the first hotel booking platform for Instagram, and there are two really cool things about it. One is the fact that we realized a long time ago that people look to Instagram for inspiration and travel planning, long before anywhere else. We wanted to update the whole experience of how people plan and book trips, which is more of a social media experience. The second thing is that there is something really interesting in the industry. The interesting thing about the travel industry is that every online travel agent, booking site, and hotel website are all bound by these price-matching deals where everyone has to publicly advertise the same rooms. hotel for exactly the same price.
That’s why everyone gets the same room at the same price. But the key nuance we’ve exploited is that you have to “publicly” advertise that rate. Privately, as long as you are an OTA, you can charge whatever you want for this coin. What we realized was that we could become an OTA and have a direct messaging channel with 30 million subscribers on our accounts which are growing by 2 million subscribers per month. So we realized we could give people really great hotel deals by giving them a private booking link. So it’s a booking link directing them to a booking website that’s exactly what they know.
It’s like everyone else, except this booking link is personal and cannot be shared and cannot be indexed by a search engine. So it’s your own link and has virtually every hotel in the world, but with thousands of them being 25% to 75% off. We’ve decided to pass virtually all of the savings on to the traveler. By DMing the @hotel account and sending the word “hotel”, you will get this personal link. This essentially lets you book hotels at a massive discount compared to what you’ll find elsewhere, including on the hotel’s website.
What sets the new Tripscout platform apart from other booking sites?
The social media angle for sure. But the bottom line is just the fact that people can save because we are able to deliver them to you via DM as opposed to just an open website. Especially right now, hotel prices are skyrocketing. When we really like to dig into our customers and followers, we’ve found that everyone wants to travel more. But the main obstacle to this is that it’s just expensive. We wanted to find a way to help people travel better, travel more, spend less, and do it at scale. It kind of set us on this long journey, which was the product that we ended up building.
We want people to be able to spend less and travel more. How do you save money on the hotel you’re going to book, but then book those hotels you find on Instagram that you really dream of and never thought you could afford? Because of our huge social reach, we were able to work with thousands of hotels and suppliers to deliver these crazy deals because they wanted to access our audience.
We work with a bunch of different suppliers, so we get the best discounts on our website. That’s compared to the best publicly available rate – what you’d expect if you went to a hotel’s website or one of those other really famous booking sites that everyone goes to. We constantly compare it to them. For some rooms we have the same price. But for many of them, we will offer 50% off. Wow. And then we’ll have a few dozen that will be 25% to 50% off. You can almost always end up finding a better rate and we’ll tell you what the market rate is compared to our price.
Do you have any specific advice for new users of the platform and how they can get the most out of it?
The biggest tip is just flexibility. Just go to @hotel, DM the word “hotel”, and explore the destination and dates that come to mind. Today, people have more flexibility than ever. The problem most people have when booking a trip is that they choose a specific location, then they choose a specific date, then they try to find a flight and hotel that matches that time and date. exact place. What I would actually say is just like playing with it, looking at the places you have on your list and asking yourself, ‘where do I want to go?’ Because right now people have a lot more flexibility.
There’s a chance you can go somewhere longer, and you don’t even have to take a vacation. You could just go to work remotely from there. I would say play and see what is available. Then I would also look at flights. You can find those places where you’re like, ‘oh man, I’ve always wanted to go there.’ And then you realize there was this crazy offer of 60% off for this really amazing place on the beach with this amazing view, and come back to it that way. I would recommend people not to stick to one place and one time. Navigate and see what is possible.
I tested it and it really is a great travel hack. Why should people be excited to use it in the future?
When we were doing our tests, people were blown away. They say, “I’m going here for a few days and I just saved $300 or $500. I think this is the best travel hack that has appeared in a long time. It’s probably the best way to save money on travel. There’s this nuanced legacy in the travel industry, which is entirely dominated by a few companies that have been doing exactly the same thing since the invention of the internet. And they haven’t really changed that model. The reason it gets really expensive is that not many people do it.
And then two, they have to spend a lot of money on advertising. Booking.com and Expedia together spend $12 billion a year. Wow. So much of their profit margin goes only to pay for advertising. We don’t pay for advertising because of social media. We have 30 million subscribers growing at a rate of over 2 million subscribers per month. We are not going to spend that money. We’ll just continue to grow organically and pass all those savings on to the customer. It’s a fairly new way of doing things. I hope people will travel a lot more and travel a lot better while spending a lot less.
What prompted you to start Tripscout? And what has the journey been like to grow it so immensely over the past few years?
I’m a repeat entrepreneur, but travel has always been my passion and obsession. I have traveled to 100 countries. I had a travel blog in the early days of blogging and I don’t anymore, but I plugged deeply into the travel industry and the travel community and became friends with a lot of really great early creators. I’ve just seen a real fundamental shift take place in our society’s relationship to travel – why we travel, how we travel, what we hope to gain from the experience, and how we share those experiences with our friends. All of that has changed dramatically in the last 10 to 15 years. But if you look at every travel product and service you use, nothing has changed in over 20 years. Maybe with the exception of taking an Uber from the airport or booking an Airbnb.
I thought we could create something for the modern traveler built for modern times. We started making products and I ended up giving my personal cell phone number to the first 250,000 customers. I was like, “Hey, whenever you travel, text me, call me, email me anytime. If you’re traveling, there’s a chance I’ve been, I’m happy to be of assistance. Through this, I learned a lot about how people plan their trips and what their pain points are. This is one of the reasons we’ve seen people search Instagram before doing anything else. When it came to planning a trip, they went to type a destination on Instagram for visual inspiration.
We basically pioneered the science of SEO for Instagram and created a hundred different brands. We’ve built a community around that. We partnered with a group of creators and ended up creating this community of 30 million subscribers. Once we did that and helped people have all those experiences and planned trips, we realized there was so much value in travelling. Travel has changed people’s lives, opened their minds and made them better people, and given them some really cool and fun experiences. So we asked, why don’t you travel more?
So we knew finding a way to make it more affordable would be the next big step. To double tap the affordability, people were seeing these really cool places on Instagram, but so many people just couldn’t book these places. We wanted to find a better way. We had a very smart team that worked on it for a while until we came to this approach.