INFOGRAPHIC Traveler Tastes for 2018: To Chill or seek Thrills?

TT Taste Lab - relaxing

As 2017 winds down we’re sharing some fresh traveler preference data to help marketers target the world’s top 10 markets next year. It’s not your typical list of up-and-coming destinations (you can always find those here). Nor is it a list of popular activities or themes. Those have been covered thoroughly.

Our goal is to capture traveler sentiment on a broader scale: to go beyond the what, how or where to understand the why. We’re looking for what truly motivates travelers — the intangible result they want from a vacation — beyond any specific event or criteria.

For many, it means a chance to rest and relax. For others it may be an opportunity to recharge through active exploration. To capture these seemingly opposite objectives, there is a Relaxing vs Active preference slider on and throughout much of our partner network.

This infographic is based on 1st party data (anonymized and aggregated) from 1 million inputs on that slider across the TripTuner network through December 26, 2017. It shows how travelers in the world’s top 10 outbound countries (as defined by the UNWTO) rank in their desire to relax or be active when on holiday or vacation.

This data is unique in three respects:

  • Actions, not words: it’s based on what users do, not what they say in a survey or review.
  • Qualitative sentiment: by focusing on intangible criteria (e.g. relaxing or active) it offers deeper insight than a model based on quantitative booking data.
  • Captures nuance: preferences are indicated on a sliding scale (what blend of relaxation and activity is desired) instead of a binary preference (do you want to relax OR be active?).

It’s the first of a series of reports we’ll share in the coming year from the TripTuner Taste Lab. So stay tuned for more as we continue to mine an ever-increasing trove of first-party preference data.


What’s behind our smile on #WorldEmojiDay2017?

UPDATE: Donation made! Thanks to all of you who participated in your promotion and helped us bring smiles to children in need around the world.

Today our summer interns Madeline and Philip launched a social promotion with a cause, called #MyEmojiSmile.  It’s a simple request to like or share our social posts.  For each such action we make a donation to Operation Smile, which offers free surgeries (and other services) to disadvantaged children with cleft-lip around the world.  We did it because helping people in far-flung corners of the globe while bringing smiles to faces everywhere is core to what TripTuner is about.

The concept for TripTuner evolved out of a year spent traveling through developing nations around the world some 20 years ago.  To cope with language barriers, I often resorted to hand signals, pointing to signs or even making animal noises (to find out what meat lurked beneath an innocuous mound of curry on a roadside stand near Mount Kelimutu, Indonesia).  But the surefire way to smooth things out anywhere was always a simple, genuine smile.  In many places, it was also a modest way to bridge very sharp class differences.

My trip created a strong desire to somehow help less fortunate souls in distant lands through my business.  The demands of launching a bootstrapped startup however, provided a convenient excuse for neglecting that part of our mission…until a letter arrived that struck a nerve and compelled me to act.

At first it didn’t seem any different than the ask letters I received from Operation Smile before, or from other charities.  The text looked better than much of the computer-generated “authentic” handwriting you see these days.  It even had what looked like a hand-drawn flower on it.  But a phrase from Philipine of Madagascar caught my eye:  “My life before my operation was very sad and worst because some of my friends were always laughing at me” (because of her cleft lip).

I was eating lunch, so perhaps my mind was more open to appeals at that time but as a father, I imagined my daughter being in that situation.  It even brought back my own memories of being an awkward, buck-toothed kid in a new town.  Don’t get me wrong – there’s no comparison of my privileged childhood with this girl’s plight.  But that universal feeling of not being accepted resonated with me.  The fact that there’s zero chance Philipine or others like her could dream of having such a surgery made it an easy decision.  We were going to do something as a company.

Over that same lunch I learned about #WorldEmojiDay2017 – which is today (but you knew that, right?)  The image of a smiling emoji and the Operation Smile letter sparked an idea to help in a way that fits exactly with the type of company we want to be: one that makes people smile whether they travel or not.

So there’s still time for you to like or share our Facebook post.  Each time that happens we’ll add more to our donation…and any selfies acting as your fave emoji will get a bonus.  Thanks in advance for your thoughtful participation.   Well let you know how it turns out on our FB page.

Stay tuned,





State of the ‘Tuner 2015

Most TV stations here in the US will be broadcasting the Presidential State of the Union Address tonight, but we’d like to offer a much briefer alternative. Ladies & Gentlemen, I submit to you our State of the ‘Tuner Address, with last year’s highlights and what we’ll bring in 2015.

Check out a preview of our sleek new TripTuner 2.0 design.  It’s fully optimized for mobile and tablet, for instant travel inspiration on the go – whether you’re in line at the supermarket, at the doctor’s office or stuck in a boring meeting.  Same addictive sliders, plus a rich tapestry of photos that wrap across your screen to help you find the right place for your next escape.

Click for a preview of TripTuner 2.0!

Whether or not you’ll be listening to O, you should know about our “MO” – the MOmentum gained from 3x growth last year.  We’re using it as a springboard to innovate even more than we did in 2014.  Some high points:

• CNN picks TripTuner #1 of “12 websites that’ll make you a smarter traveller.”

DressTuner 2.0 goes live on Zappos (yeah, we do that too!)

Bahamas’ Wedding Tuner debuts at the posh Per Se restaurant in NYC.

Visit Florida’s Beach Finder launches featuring Google Street …er, Beach View

• Brazil’s TAM Viagens arrives as our first airline partner, with “Inspire Me.” Belleza!

Soccer Tuner helps agnostic World Cup fans pick which team to back. Gooooool!!!

• Kempinski Hotels announces their “Tune in to Summer” promotion.

• Utah launches our latest project with Brand USA: Alpine or Red Rocks, anyone?

• France’s Havas Voyages unveils a rebranded “Inspirez-Moi” in our 3rd year together.

• October 15, 2014 marked our 3rd anniversary.

We’ve got much more in store and we’ll continue to listen to you, our loyal fans on how we may improve.  So enjoy TripTuner 2.0 on your phone, keep the suggestions coming and thanks for all your support. We wish you all the best for a fantastic 2015! #StayTTuned

Celebrating Three Years of TripTuner

Three years ago tonight, my lead developer Pablo and I were pecking out messages on Skype, knocking out a seemingly never-ending checklist of tasks.  It was a Friday night and we’d been working nonstop all day until around 8pm, when we flipped the virtual switch and pushed a web app called TripTuner live.

There was no launch party.  No throng of users enticed with sneak previews, or bloggers given special codes in a cleverly crafted pre-launch marketing plan.  We didn’t have time to build hype.  We wanted what we built to BE hype.  So our launch went completely unnoticed.  But man was it a great feeling to see an idea come to life.

Three years later, with equally little fanfare we – and by “we” I mean a virtual team spread across three continents — celebrate the sucessful culmination of years of hard work and perseverance.  A rollercoaster of ups and downs, sometimes on an hourly basis.  Quick reactions, changing priorities and rapid iterations are the norm, but the vision of discovering ideal options — for nearly anything — remains unchanged.  We’re executing on that vision and are well on our way with a growing, profitable company.  And a kick-ass product.

TripTuner began as a great way to find personalized destination ideas.  But we had no idea if it would work.  There wasn’t a test that could prove whether or not it was viable.  We had to build it to see if users thought it was as cool as we did.  Of course, everyone we showed it to said they liked it.  But everyone will tell you that.  There’s only one way to tell, and that’s to put it out there.  Fortunately, users responded with enthusiasm.  “It’s like it knows me”, tweeted one.  “So freaking obsessed” twote another.

Now, in addition to, we create custom “discovery engines” for a growing array of partner sites that help users find their ideal destination, beach, island wedding, hotel…or dress.  As a result, we’ve focused more on our partner’s needs than our own over the past few years.  But we’ll be updating soon to give you, our fans, an even better way to discover great places to go.

I thank you deeply for your support during these first three years and look forward to many more years with you as we move into the next chapter.  #StayTuned  – Tedd

So Much Things to Say (about why we’ve been quiet)

It’s been WAAAY too long since we’ve posted here – but all for good reasons.  We’ve been busy working behind the scenes, and for better or for worse we’re generally more focused on DOING than TALKING about it (which isn’t the best PR strategy I must admit – but I’m getting better :).

Bob Marley photo thx to The Independent UK / Getty Images


Becky and I have both been travelling on and off over the past several weeks.  Just this month I went to London for World Travel Market and met with my partner par excellence Pierre Alzon in Paris.  After just a few days at HQ in Washington, DC I flew off to Scottsdale, Arizona for the Phocuswright Conference where we introduced TripTuner to the heavy hitters of the online travel industry.  Add in some travel to see family and a few days of skiing in Vail, Colorado over Thanksgiving here in the US and it makes for a busy month.

Since our last post we’ve also received a ton of new fans from some great press in The New York Times, Business Insider, The Kim Komando Show (which is huge…who knew?), an Italian blog and even from a Danish magazine.  ALSO we’ve also put a few new wrinkles into the TripTuner based on feedback from our users: larger photos, a regional filter so you can find new destinations within a certain region (our default setting: ANYWHERE, of course) and a cool map view that will adjust to your regional settings as well.

Now filtered by region for your enjoyment.

Fine-tuned reccs, all across the map.

All of which means we have a ton of work to do amid the end of the year rush, so I thought it would be appropriate to ease things up a bit with a Bob Marley-inspired title to this post.  But then, you already knew that.  Thanks for hangin’ with us, there’s more to come soon (or “soon come” as they say in Jamaica).  Stay tuned!

Rollin’ with The R: Yahoo’s Loss is Our Gain

Saw a TechCrunch post last Tuesday on how Marissa Mayer, the recently-appointed CEO of Yahoo has decided to allow the removal of “The R”- their registered trademark symbol – from their logo.  I guess that’s one way to leave your mark (so to speak) on a company but to be honest I hadn’t really noticed it either way.  It’s one of those ubiquitous symbols that you take for granted and don’t notice until you really look at it.

Now while a large established company like Yahoo can rest assured that it’s trademark is safe, a young startup trying to establish an identity in an industry filled with big players is another matter.  As it turned out, that same day I got a text from my wife about a big package from the US Patent & Trademark Office.  Our trademark had been registered!

Not a huge deal, I know.  Like any young company we’ve got a laser focus on what really matters – growing our bottom line – but it was really great to see.  I guess that in the topsy-turvy world of entrepreneurship it’s one of those rare outcomes where you feel like you had some measure of control over a well-defined process (the antithesis of startup life, really).  At any rate, we’ll take your R, Ms. Mayer.  And we’ll roll with it.