When invitation-only travel app DragonSlayer was launched in December 2019, it marketed itself as a “white-glove concierge service for discerning travelers.”
The main focus of the app was to give a personal touch to luxury travelers, helping curate and plan custom vacations by building a “travel persona” for consumers and matching them via AI and machine-learning technology.
“We really use smart analytics to help people travel in a different way,” Peter Wells, founder and CEO of DragonSlayer, told Travel Market Report last week. “I hope to bring that back.”
Wells, who spent over 20 years working for Cisco before moving into the travel space, decided in April, when travel was essentially shutdown, to shift his focus away from curating vacations and build DragonSlayer 2.0.
“In the dark days of April we decided to educate people on tests, what it is going to be like on the ground, what’s even open,” he said. “It’s complicated so we wanted to create an information source with the travel professional.”
DragonSlayer 2.0 is designed to be the ultimate resource for advisors who need to keep their clients informed about what’s opened at a destination, what the travel requirements are, what the COVID-19 infection rate is, and more. The goal is to use the backend technology it had already built for its first version to give advisors the most up-to-date information.
“The feedback I get, with people who are working, is that they could probably go find the information if it’s out there, but this makes it easier,” Wells said.
All the information on the app is either sourced back to a government source—State Department warnings, for instance—or sourced by local news or local tourist board information. The app builds a COVID-19 profile for the destinations that takes into account trending cases, trending deaths, total number of cases, and testing relative to the rest of the world or other destinations. It then gives a rating out of 100, so advisors can compare and contrast with clients.
“The goal is to provide an objection scale. It’s all relative,” he said
There’s also a component of information sourced from users, which Wells calls “travel slayers.”
“It’s the community of travel professionals using the app saying if they hear or see something from a client,” Wells said.
Six weeks ago, for instance, St. Lucia said you could go stay at a resort but were forced to remain on that resort’s ground. Then news broke that St. Lucia had loosened restrictions, meaning you could go to a second resort during the stay as long as it was in the same category as the home resort.
“What I was told this advisor contacted me and said we just had someone in St. Lucia and said that the second property doesn’t have to be in that category. That’s the kind of information I’m trying to attract through crowdsourcing with travel professionals,” Wells said.
Pricing for the app is $9.99 per month of $69.99 for a year. DragonSlayer is also offering a 14-day free trial for all advisors. Wells has been on webinars with travel advisor groups, including some of the largest consortia, introducing the app to advisors and explaining what it can do for them. So far, over 1,000 users have either grabbed a free trial, or subscribed, Wells said.
Moving forward, Wells said his team is working on adding information from airports and from airlines into the app. They are also working on more partnerships with travel advisors, including eventually allowing advisors the option to white-label the app, givibg their clients use of the app through the advisor’s unique login.
“It’s really designed to help the travel advisor interact with their client,” he said.
Wells is planning to shift, eventually, to DragonSlayer 3.0, which would bring the goals back from the first version of the app.
“Safety is going to be a huge part of anything,” Wells said. “People will be more sensitive to the flu, to things like Zika. They are just going to want to know about the personal safety and where they are going. I’m going to have that component always in the app going forward. But 3.0 brings back the original model of a platform that helps people bring back the original platform.”