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Trippmatch heads for a blockchain ‘first’

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New travel experience: Tripp West is the man behind the Trippmatch online travel community. Trippmatch is working with blockchain technology and has plans for a crypto-token reward system for users (Photograph supplied)

A Bermudian-based travel website and app is to boost its use of new technologies, and aims to be the first blockchain-powered online travel community.

It plans to introduce a digital token that will be awarded to users who generate interest, views, and feedback from other online users. The tokens can later be redeemed for travel products.

Trippmatch will launch in the new year, however it has been testing the water since the summer of 2017 and has a social media following of 70,000 on Facebook and Instagram. It also has a YouTube channel, tapping in to the increasing trend for people to watch videos as they research travel destinations and experiences.

Trippmatch is not a booking portal, instead, through its website and app it aims to connect travellers with experiences, destinations and with each other based on common interests and travel preferences.

“We want to be a discovery site and inspire people,” said Tripp West, the man behind the project. He explained that it will be free to use, and an overarching aim is to create a big community of users.

The matching engine used by Trippmatch will help users to discover their next travel experience, share their experiences with other travellers, and build customised maps of places they have been, and also post travel experiences they would like to have.

By doing so, opportunities will be created for members of the community to interact and share knowledge

“People can ask about places to go and they can be matched with someone who has similar interests and has been to similar places,” Mr West said, noting that on average a person visits 38 websites when researching and planning a trip. Trippmatch aims to shorten that process, and provide more pertinent information.

He explained: “What if you want to go somewhere a bit different, perhaps to Iceland, and you can find a match with someone who has already done that.

“You can see from their postings that they have done similar things to you, maybe they have stayed in the same hotel in New York or London.”

In this way, you are matching up with a traveller who is — on a certain level — like-minded. This in turn can assist you in making better decisions about where to go, where to stay, and what to do, according to Mr West

His background is as an architect. He is part of the team at Westport Architecture in Flatts. His interest in travel and technology and in creating a sharing community, began three years ago. The Trippmatch concept had its initial reveal at the Hub Culture Innovation Campus and Beach Club, held at Ariel Sands last year.

In terms of a revenue stream, the data generated by TrippMatch will be the “number one thing”. While interaction with early versions of the Trippmatch community have been good, Mr West recognises that users need some form of incentive or compensation for their data — and that’s where the idea for a digital token came from.

“Generation Y, Generation Z, and millennials love to travel, and they love loyalty programmes,” he said.

The Trippmatch development team is working on enhancements and functionality for the website and app, and this will include integrating a rewards system that allows users to earn points for contributing to the community.

“The more people that respond to someone who posts, the more that person earns. If the community is responding to your shared content, you are going to be rewarded,” Mr West said.

The points system will lay the foundation for introducing digital tokens, called “Tripps”, that can be awarded to users. It is envisaged that the tokens will be redeemable for a variety of travel-related products.

The Trippmatch team has identified Espeo as its blockchain partner, and will start work on development in the first months of 2019.

The Trippmatch travel community will be open to all, however certain geographic restrictions will apply for owning the tokens.

The types of rewards that users can purchase with their Tripps might come from hotel and other travel-related operators.

Mr West said Trippmatch will not be cluttered with advertising. The vision is for tourism industry operators to use the platform to match their offerings and experiences with other travellers.

The site will be a free resource for users, with those who add value through their postings to be rewarded with tokens.

Mr West said: “It is a platform where the more you give, the more you get.”

Trippmatch will launch in January.

New travel experience: Tripp West is the man behind the Trippmatch online travel community. Trippmatch is working with blockchain technology and has plans for a crypto token reward system for users (Photograph supplied)