Seamless, exclusive, and extraordinary. That's the best description of the custom travel experience from Origin, a revolutionary travel curator startup backed by investors from Uber and Google. If you're ready to ditch the same old travel concepts, this tech-first company combines local travel curators with machine learning, making each trip more personalized with every excursion.
Origin's travel curators are experts in the art of custom-designed adventures. They can take your vague ideas and turn them into the vacation of your dreams. Do you love to travel but hate the hassle of planning? Or maybe you have no idea where to start when planning a trip.
Origin doesn't just worry about getting you to your destination but creates a custom end-to-end travel experience you won't find anywhere else.
Travel Agent vs. Travel Curator
The main difference between a travel agent and a travel curator is that a travel agent typically only books your trip. In contrast, a travel curator takes care of everything, from planning to execution. Add in Origin's user-friendly travel app with a 24/7 chat feature and you have a game-changing travel service.
A Premium Travel Service App
Origin is an app for custom-designed trips that includes a travel membership connecting you with local experts worldwide, working together to create a unique experience for you. No need for various apps and websites. All of Origin's magic happens within just one app.
Christian Gibney, a Travel Curator with Origin, comments, “In the past, when I've communicated with clients, it's primarily been through email correspondence or scheduled phone calls. With Origin, however, I can chat directly with my clients just as I organically converse with loved ones over text messages. Origin allows me to spread my love of travel in the most genuine way possible. It feels more like sending fun recommendations and bouncing ideas around with a close friend than taking on the typical client-consultant relationship.”
Forget the stress of planning your trip yourself or dealing with multiple vendors. With Origin, you have one point of contact who will take care of everything – from hotels and restaurants to activities and even covid testing appointments. They are with you from start to finish. It's like having a 24/7 concierge at your side, right there in your pocket.
How Does Origin Work?
Origin combines the best local travel curators with machine learning to create a more personalized experience with each trip. You provide them with your travel interests, and they take care of the rest. They have a team of experts who handpick the best hotels and restaurants, as well as the most incredible excursions and activities for each destination.
Download the Origin app and answer the initial questions while setting up your profile. This includes your travel preferences, how active you like to be, if you prefer the beach or city life etc. Take your time answering these questions. Remember, this is a tech-based travel company. What you input in the app will shape your travel profile.
Now comes the fun part – requesting your first trip. You will be asked to provide some information to get started. This includes your departure and arrival cities, dates of travel, and budget. Origin will use this information to find the best local travel curator for your trip.
Once you have submitted your request, sit back and relax. In moments, Origin will present an initial outline of a trip based on the information provided in the app.
I asked Christian Gibney, the Origin's Travel Curator who planned my trip to Switzerland and Portugal, to explain how he took the information I provided on the app to create an exceptional travel experience for my family of four.
“When I first received that trip request and questionnaire answers from an Origin member or newcomer to the app, I can truly put myself in that person's shoes as they begin planning their holiday. First, I take note of the make-up of their travel group (whether it's a solo traveler, honeymoon couple, or family with kids) along with their travel style and preferences and even their pet peeves when it comes to travel planning on-the-ground logistics. I then begin crafting their itinerary and painting the picture of what story their trip will tell.”
Gibney continues, “For a family of four with young kids renting a car, that might look like providing specific recommendations around where to park so when touring is over, the parents aren't over-encumbered with exhausted kids as they make their way back to the car to return to their accommodations.”
A Luxury Travel Membership
Origin's app and travel memberships are intended for the luxury travel market. Request trip planning services and set a budget for each trip. Each time you travel, the machine-learning technology gets to know more about your preferences, refining your profile to provide custom results explicitly catered to you.
All payments are made within the app, keeping all the essential details in one place.
Origin's Signature Surprises
One of Origin's signature offerings is their surprises. After an itinerary is finalized and paid for and the client has begun their travels, they will be delighted with surprises organized by Origin during their travel adventures.
Origin perfectly matched those surprises to our travel adventures and interests on our family vacation to Switzerland and Portugal for this travel writer.
After exploring Zurich one afternoon, we returned to our room at Hotel Störchen to find four matching hats to wear to the Swiss hockey game we planned to attend the next day. Our Origin travel curator wanted us to have some Swiss apparel to wear while cheering on the Rapperswil Lakers during their playoff run.
While we were in Portugal, we received a chat message on the Origin app from Gibney that he had planned a fun, surprise activity for us the next day following our hike through the vineyards of the Douro Valley.
Christian messaged us to pack a change of shorts in case they got wet during the surprise experience. After our hike, we were delighted to discover the guides were taking us kayaking on the Douro River. It was the perfect way to cool off after a 6km hike and an excellent way to see the area from the water.
Changes on the Fly
Origin's Head of Travel Curation, Rick Lunt, says, “The Origin app allows our users real-time communication with expert travel curators through the app's chat feature. This is available both throughout the trip planning process and when clients are on-trip. This eliminates slow email communication or tedious scheduling of phone calls. We also update the itinerary live while clients travel, so their app will quickly reflect any changes they request.”
That's perhaps one of the best features of Origin's app – having access to a travel curator 24/7. For example, during our trip to Portugal, we decided halfway through our itinerary that we wanted to replace one of our downtime days in Porto with an extra day in Lisbon.
I sent a chat message within the app to our curator, and he rearranged our itinerary to accommodate the changes with an extra city tour in Lisbon. I easily paid the additional cost in the app, and we were all set. It really is as simple as that.
Groundbreaking “Where Can I Go” Feature
Origin recently released its most-personalized feature yet, which considers travel preferences and COVID restriction regulations to help users decide on their next adventure with complete peace of mind.
The feature is one-of-kind. It is updated daily to provide users with the most relevant information on where they can go and how. With refreshed content every time any COVID or other restrictions change, this feature is a natural extension of Origin's mission to create truly personalized travel.
“We started thinking on how to combine industry knowledge with personal preferences that users share with us,” says Origin co-founder and CEO Eli Bressert. “We looked at solutions out in the market, but none of them give you recommendations tailored to your needs. That's where we saw an opportunity to further empower travelers.”
Users simply add their vaccination status, what restrictions they're comfortable with, which ones they want to avoid – like mandatory quarantines – and instantly you get perfectly-matched travel ideas. It provides unique, original adventures perfectly suited to how Origin members want to travel.
Why Use Origin?
If you love to travel, enjoy luxury hotels, and want to have every little detail taken care of for you, Origin should be at the top of your list. You can have the trip of your dreams without any of the hassles. Origin handles all the details, and you focus on enjoying your vacation. No two trips will be the same – unless you want them to be!
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Featured Image Credit: Origin.
Casandra is the founder of Karpiak Caravan Adventure Family Travel and a mother to two adventurous young boys. Casandra is a family-focused, adventure travel advocate.
A Toronto native with Danish roots, she became an avid traveler after her first trip to Europe as a college student. Casandra's goal is to provide an educational experience for her family when she travels. When visiting historic sites like D-Day landing beaches in Normandy, or learning about ranch life at a dude ranch on horseback, it’s always a priority to provide an educational experience and to learn about the culture and history of each destination.
You can follow her adventures at karpiakcaravan or get in touch via her social media pages on Facebook and Instagram.