, 1er journal des professionnels du tourisme francophone

Opwigo: the swiss army knife of online trip planning

A promising startup

Introduced as the future swiss army knife of tourism, the platform Opwigo hopes to become an unmissable tool both for travelers and professionals. reveals its multiple functionalities.

Rédigé par Laury-Anne CHOLEZ translated by Joséphine Foucher le Mardi 16 Juin 2015

Opwigo, a new promising startup. DR-site Opwigo.
Opwigo, a new promising startup. DR-site Opwigo.
Opwigo could easily be the future French gem of e-tourism.

This new startup, being launched today, presents itself as the swiss army knife of tourism.

It hopes to become an indispensable tool for all travelers but also a great growth lever for tourism professionals.

Indeed, Opwigo is a platform that synthesizes all the functionalities available to an internet user to organize a trip.

A social network, a platform to create an itinerary, a browser for hotels, activities, restaurants, flights, a feedback website of travelers but also a provider of practical informations on the countries; the website is a true comprehensive inventory.

And while it could have been a confusing digital maze, it is actually very easy to use, despite its numerous functionalities.

Its main strength: assisting in all of the steps of a trip.

Tourism professionals will be able to promote their products.

Let’s take the example of a circuit between New York and Chicago.

Before departure, the internet user creates an account (via Facebook or directly on the website) in order to build his itinerary by choosing the sites he wants to visits. He can use itineraries already created and published by other members.

Once his project finished, the adds transportation, hotels, even activities and restaurants. For each step, Opwigo will offer suggestions via paid links with Booking, Expedia, la Fourchette, FNAC; its first partners.

“Of course, the internet user will always be able to buy directly, there is no obligation. It is our task to offer him the right tools to incite him to reserve via our platform,” explains Maud Clementelli, Communications Director.

The owners of the places (hotels, sites, and even tourism offices) will also be able to enrich their information sheet and why not directly provide special offers to internet users.

Once a circuit finished, the traveler can open it up to the community, if he doesn’t want to make the journey alone, or to his friends and family who can then comment on it.

During the trip, our traveler will be able to geolocate himself in order to keep track of the places he visited, but also receive suggestions of sites to discover in his surroundings.

Once back home, Opwigo will enable him to share his experience thanks to photos, feedback, recommendations of addresses, and other details such as rates or the shared transportation times, for instance.

An already comprehensive new platform

Beyond the circuit for a long trip, Opwigo also has the ambition of being an inspirational browser for weekends and outings in France.

“People go on a long trip once or twice a year. For them to use our website as often as possible, we also offer to organize their outings close by,” adds Maud.

Example: by typing “girafe in Paris” in the browser, Opwigo sends you to the Vincennes zoo. If we type the word “insects”, the website recommends an entire list of restaurants that serve these little bugs.

The platform is just beginning but it can be proud of its comprehensive data set. All of the major websites of countries from all over the world are already registered, even the most exotic ones, like Bhutan for example.

The attention to detail and to practical informations is very thorough, such as a photos of power outlets, wheelchair access, or automatic conversion of currencies. The administrative and security information are updated in real time thanks to a partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Such a project was not built in one day. It has been ripening in the mind of Anthony Gies since 2008.

Accompanied by Maud Clementelli, that he met while working at the Ministry of Defense, they decided to dive 100% in this adventure by integrating an incubator of the city of Paris on April 2nd, 2015.

Thanks to his competence as an engineer, Anthony programmed everything himself through an open data. “The same website produced by an agency would cost between 200,000 and 300,000 euros,” he assures.

A relevant economic model

200,000, that is exactly the previsional budget for the 18 months to come. Accounting for an important part of their savings while waiting for their gem to bring in money.

Which should not take too long. In fact, their economic model is realistic thanks to diverse and varied financial levers.

Other than the classic advertising banners, Opwigo already has affiliation links with Booking, Expedia, for hotels, la Fourchette for restaurants, la FNAC for activities/shows and for car rentals.

The duo hopes to quickly multiply partnerships in countries all over the world as well as with leaders of the collaborative economy, such as Blablacar or Drivy.

But they are already forward-looking and are searching for funding in order to develop a smartphone app, that will enable to access one’s profile even offline. And the models for an English and Spanish version are now ready.

Maud Clementelli and Anthony Gies hope to seduce 100,000 travelers between now and next summer. An ambitious goal but realistic considering the very high potential of the project.

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Tags : e-tourisme

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