New France-based online company Darjeelin aims to bring ‘crowdsourcing’ to the travel and flight search sector. Founded in 2012 by Thibault Lorcy and Charles Guilhamon, Darjeelin provides:
- savings of hundreds of euro on long-haul flights, compared to traditional agencies or metasearch engines
- major time saving
- competition between experts, which in turn guarantees the best price for the user
- a human powered flight search engine, which means that experts and users engage on the forum
The company said: “With the advent of OTAs (Online Travel Agencies), the success of low-cost companies and the thousands of special promotional offers flooding the web, searching for flight tickets can be very tricky for the layman, take a considerable amount of time and lead to disappointing results. Darjeelin has gathered an expert community to help users travel in a smarter way.
“Darjeelin experts know all the tips and tricks of flight search and are capable of being extremely creative to find airfares 25% cheaper than traditional OTAs and metasearchers.”
Darjeelin links every user looking for a flight ticket with four experts, who will compete to find the best ticket or ticket combination on the web in a ‘flight contest’. During three days, the user receives ‘flight proposals’ from his ‘flight experts’. The user then selects the best flight proposal and the expert is awarded the ‘contest fee’. To launch a flight contest, users pay a fixed fee of €20, and winning experts are awarded €15.
“Airplane ticket distribution evolved too quickly from a bricks and mortar shop to dematerialised online platforms,” said Thibault Lorcy, co-founder of Darjeelin. “In the process, the know-how of human travel agents was lost. We believe in a hybrid solution: human experts who are reachable through a web interface.”
“The power of our concept lies in aligning the interests of both our travel experts and users (travellers): finding the best airfare; and that’s only possible through crowdsourcing,” added Charles Guilhamon, the other co-founder.
Launch in Beauvais Airport
Last Friday (14th December 2012), the Darjeelin team was in Beauvais Airport to meet travellers and potential users, and undertake a ‘smart launch’.
The team brought along a table and a printer and offered passengers who had forgotten to print their Ryanair flight tickets to do it for them, thus saving them the €60 charge.