Cooked up in 2015 by brothers Tiff and Alex Burns in their Hackney, East London kitchen, LuckyTrip now claims to be the fastest-growing travel app in Europe.
With a mission to completely shake up the way we travel and become the leading travel brand for the millennial generation, brothers Tiff and Alex Burns quit their jobs, moved into a Hackney apartment together and spent 9 months working at their kitchen table. They were looking for a way to find and book trips to the hidden corners of the world – all in one tap.
“We wanted to make an app that could plan unique trips in one tap, all within our budget. We also wanted to discover places we’d never seen before, not just the well-known ones most travel sites suggest,” explained Tiff Burns, a former PWC employee in an Apple App Store story.
“We don’t want to just show a trip to Paris, staying in a chain hotel and going up the Eiffel Tower… We’d prefer to show a trip to Bucharest, staying in a wagon, with a walk through a haunted Romanian forest.”
In the story, Tiff recalls the moment their app LuckyTrip became an overnight success following the release of their prototype app on App Store at the end of 2015:
“I was sitting at our kitchen table in my pants, and I noticed loads of downloads coming in,” says Tiff. “Alex was in the shower and I was banging on the door shouting, ‘Something weird is happening’.”
“A friend texted us at that exact moment saying, ‘Open the App Store.’ We were right there on the front page. We started running round the flat throwing stuff at each other, going crazy. Then our servers crashed and we cried.”
LuckyTrip aims to remove all the hassle and endless open tabs that come with booking the perfect holiday by making it “as easy as booking an Uber.”
Users simply set their budget and other holiday preferences, — such as ‘Adventure’, ‘Night Owl’, ‘Foodie’, ‘Beach’— then tap the big red ‘Lucky’ button and the apps AI algorithm instantly generates a personalised trip to one of 350 amazing destinations, with the cheapest flights, best accommodation and a unique handpicked experience.
Once a trip is booked LuckyTrip does an automatic check-in and sends the boarding pass to the user’s phone.
“All you need to do is turn up at the airport.”
Already backed by easyJet and the Founders Factory, (the accelerator set up by lastminute.com founder Brent Hoberman,) LuckyTrip has partnerships with Skyscanner, Booking.com, British Airways and Vueling.
The startup’s latest funding—an impressive £1.5 million—comes from crowdfunding sites Crowdcube and Syndicate Room as well as private investors. The founders have said that the cash injection will be used to help them scale internationally.
£1 million from 1,879 investors was raised on Crowdcube, surpassing the original target of £200,000 and on Syndicate Room, more than £500,000 was raised.
LuckyTrip says they are achieving “seven-figure revenues” having launched on apple’s iOS mobile platform and being highly rated on the App Store and downloaded more than 500,000 times.
By taking a mobile-first approach to travel and adopting artificial intelligence to generate recommendations, LuckyTrip claims to be the fastest-growing travel app in Europe.
Inspiring spontaneous travel
LuckyTrip is all about inspiring travel to new and unique places – think pink lagoons, secret beaches and haunted Gypsy wagons.
Whilst traditional travel agents have always posed the question ‘Where do you want to go?’, LuckyTrip asks ‘How much do you want to spend?’
The brothers Burns set up the app so that anyone, anywhere in the world, could use it to go on an amazing spontaneous adventure whatever their budget, and according to Tiff that is exactly how it is being used.
“We’ve heard a few interesting stories,” he said. “A favourite of mine was a group of lads taking their passports on a night out, using LuckyTrip in the pub and waking up the next day in Estonia.”
“There was also a hen-do that did a surprise trip using the app – everyone put in £100, one person tapped Lucky, and they went to the first place that came up. It was a good one, Hvar in Croatia.”