So how does this website actually work?
We thought you'd never ask. It's fairly simple really. We review hundreds of travel destinations, put them online and then wait for our users to vote on the 23 attributes that each destination is scored on. This in turn helps you to browse, sort and filter destinations to find ones that may suit your wishes. On the home page you can start by selecting your prefered weather and distance, as well as one or more themes that you wish to check out. Next, click Show to view your results. From there you can filter with more precision, read up on destinations or store them to your must/might/should-see lists.
What are you really trying to achieve, who pays for this?
Sure enough, servers are expensive so if we can get you guys to make a hotel booking or two that will be sweet. But the commercial aspects of this are not what is driving us. We want to be your go-to website when you need to look up a new travel spot, we want to be for travel what IMDB is for movies.
Can you give us an idea of the type of data that drives Travelindicator?
Every destination is linked to a hierarchy based on a country > region > city waterfall and is linked to its geographic coordinates (longitude, latitude). Monthly average temperature and precipitation is stored, as well as the nearest airport, population, information about languages spoken, and another bunch of dummy variables (whether a destination for instance is a suitable entry point to a country).
This is combined with 23 user-defined ratings, tags, itineraries a place is stored in, users that have saved a destination, public holidays in a country, and so on. For every user that stores destinations and creates itineraries, we also save a travel profile (budget vs. luxury, introvert vs. extrovert, etc.), which can be linked to any of our covered destinations.
We combine all of this with external data from Rome2Rio, Openweathermap and Foursquare.
So yeah, there's a fair bit of data involved. (Just to give you an idea, at time of writing we have covered about 760 destinations. On themes alone that means 760*23 = 17,840 data points!
What are your rating attributes (i.e. %beaches, %romance) for every location based on?
We have intensively traveled ourselves and wherever possible these ratings are our assessment of the place in combination with extensive research on every location. After we put them live, users can influence the ratings by voting on them!
How is the similarity of destinations determined?
We sample from the rich information we store for every location (including themes, weather, altitude, tags and so on) to compare places and caculate a degree of difference between every destination. Suffice it to say that if place A scores 40 on adventure and place B scores 60, the difference is going to be exponentially smaller than when A scores 0 and B 100.
What is meant by the versatility score?
This statistic is derived from the scores on the various themes. We employ a weighting on those themes to determine whether every single person who goes here will actually find something to do (in the most extreme of cases, that will happen when the score on every theme is 100% - a place like Bali in Indonesia comes pretty close!), or whether a destination should really only be visited for a particular reason (e.g. to go mountain climbing). In general, cities are going to be more versatile than small towns.
What do the hotel prices mean?
Several times a day we source nightly rates popular hotels for every location. What you see is the average of our sourced nightly rates, an indicator which should be read as: "you will be able to find hotels ABOVE and BELOW this price". The intention of the prices you see is to be able to understand which places are comparatively more expensive to travel to than others.
Where do you get your flight ticket prices from?
The ticket prices are not real or actual! In fact they are based on a very simple formula that was shared with us and is commonly used in the travel industry. This formula was derived of historical ticket prices and was shown to be a reasonable estimate of what you can expect to pay in the future. Naturally there are discounts, deals, fare hikes and all the unpredictability of airline pricing that we cannot foresee. But it's clear that the relation between distance and price exists, and we believe that on average, our numbers will give you a reasonable idea of what you will be charged to go somewhere!
Why don't I see any places that have snow or cold temperatures?
The temperature and rainfall filters work together with the period that you travel in. So if you set the month to July and you're looking for places in Europe, most temperatures will not be too low as that is in the summer. If you change the month to December or January on the other hand, you should find plenty. We have set it up like this because it is more "accurate": you will not find any snow in western Europe in the summer!
Can I work for you?
We can always use an extra pair of hands! Just send us an email and we can discuss how we can best work together!
Who are you?
We are two 30-something entrepreneurs. One of us is Dutch, currently living and working in Singapore. The other is Australian, currently living and working in Germany. You could say we are an international bunch, both being so far away from home. And yes, we also have our day jobs as well (one of us is in IT and the other is in - sigh - high finance). Please get in touch if you'd like to know more.
What does the future hold for Travelindicator?
Increased focus on our product and building a user community, with most commercial aspects as an after-thought (servers are expensive!) rather than a real business objective. We intend to significantly enlarge our content, improve our algorithm and enhance user experience so that we can further grow in prominence in the travel industry.