Co-founder of the digital tour guide pocketvillage, Jann Kleen took a few minutes to discuss the idea of search engine for experienced backpackers looking to be more efficient on their travels. Jann talks about where the idea for pocketvillage came from and where it might take you on your next trip.
In a tweet, what is pocketvillage?
A search engine with 11,000 exceptional niche travel offers – adventurous, cultural, local or off-the-beaten-track, tours + places to stay.
What advantage does pocketvillage have for travelers over other search engines?
More and more people are looking for extraordinary travel experiences away from the mainstream tourist attractions. The problem they face is obvious: it is (still!) very difficult, time-consuming, and dizzyingly complex to research and book unique in-destination activities and tours on the Internet. Those offers are scattered across the web and world. A recent PhoCusWright study discovered that 60% of activities and tours in the US are still sold offline in the destination, 28% are sold through operators’ own websites, and less than 2% are distributed via online intermediaries. The study concludes: “The in-destination activities landscape is incredibly fragmented, comprised largely of small, local providers.”
Who is the site geared for – backpackers, high-end travel, etc?
The site is geared for grown-up backpackers, jobholders and families who have less time than they used to, have an increased demand for pre-arrangements but actively want to experience unique holidays and exciting new destinations. We cover a very wide range of offers from luxurious villas, family friendly and eco-sustainable to one-day trips, nature and wildlife or cultural holidays.
How are activities and tours added to pocketvillage?
Through a multi-step process we hand-selected and rated 5,500 extraordinary activities and tours and 5,500 unique accommodations out of 40,000 offers from our partners, enabling 100% adventurous or off-the-beaten-track experiences. The user can choose and combine a variety of 60+ themes and categories. An algorithm will ensure that the most relevant and extraordinary offers are displayed on top.
What inspired you to create pocketvillage?
pocketvillage CEO’s Martin Hümmer and Florian Harkort were frustrated by the fact that during a several-month-long trip through Africa their guide books had for the hundredth time taken them to places swamped by tourists and to non-existing hostels, so that they decided to give those books away and continue their trip without much further planning. Both returned to Germany in June 2009. The first thing Martin did after arriving back at the dormitory in which we were living at that time, was to tell me about the great idea they had during their travels in Africa. Because Martin and I talked a lot about starting our own business before, I didn’t need much convincing and less than half an hour later, I was in. The next months consisted of brainstorming, refining our ideas and condensing our great visions into achievable goals, which resulted in the current version of our site. The actual development of the version took place from October 2010 to March 2011 and we’re already restlessly on improving it, adding new offers and more features.
Thank you Jann, I appreciate you taking the time to tell us a bit more about pocketvillage which you can learn more about at pocketvillage.com.