Boingo Q&A: Hipmunk — The Hippest Travel Search Around


Perhaps you’re asking yourself, “What’s a hipmunk?” Well, your search is over! Travel search, that is. Steve Huffman and Adam Goldstein, the founders of Hipmunk, created a visual, intuitive travel search site that makes booking trips easy and calendar integration simple. We recently spoke with Steve and Adam and asked them a few questions about their journey, their product, and travel savvy. 

 

 

1. How did you dream up the idea of Hipmunk and why did you want to build it?

Adam: “I booked travel for my college debate team, and found the experience absolutely agonizing. I called up Steve and proposed building a better solution. He was initially skeptical, but I eventually won him over, convincing me that the opportunity was too big to pass up—and that the industry was so behind the times that we could make an amazing difference.”

 

 

 

Steve: “I was also familiar with the frustrations of travel, spending the last few years traveling back and forth across the country to visit my wife, but it took some persuasion to get me on board. While I agreed we could certainly do better, Adam had to convince me travel was the right space for us. Obviously, he succeeded.”


2. What benefit would influence travelers to choose Hipmunk over other travel search sites?

Adam & Steve: “We help people make efficient decisions about travel. Instead of pages of results, we display it all on a single page, in a way that helps you visualize the tradeoffs. And we sort the results intelligently (e.g. sorting flights by “agony”), rather than by price alone.”

3. In what ways do you think technology is changing the face of travel?

Adam & Steve: “Technology is making it easier to discover what options are available. At the same time, technology has created an overload of choices that make it difficult for users to find the best options. We believe we we can use technology to not only bring users more options (e.g. trains alongside flights, Airbnbs alongside hotels), but also make it easier for them to find the right ones for their needs.”

4. What’s your #1 travel tip that all road warriors should know?

Adam: “Always bring a pair of eyeshades. You never know when you’ll have to sleep somewhere.”

Steve: “Travel with Adam; he always has eyeshades.”

5. What Hipmunk feature should all Boingo fans know about and why?

Adam & Steve: “Our mobile and tablet apps are absolutely amazing. Not only can you search for flights and hotels, but you can also see your calendar events right on top of your search results. That is, when you search for hotels, you can see which ones are closest to your meetings, and when you search for flights, you can see which flights fit best into your schedule.”

BONUS QUESTION: We have to ask: What’s the story behind your product’s name? We love the mascot!

Adam: “Well, we were having trouble coming up with a domain name that was available. I mentioned this to my girlfriend, who suggested looking for a small animal name so we could get a cute logo. :) Alexis Ohanian, who previously started reddit.com with Steve (and made reddit’s logo), banged out Hipmunk’s in a couple of hours. The rest is history.”

About Hopping John

Hopping John is a seasoned world traveler, gallivanting across the globe as he moves from adventure to adventure. Along for the ride are a wide array of smartphones, tablets, laptops, handheld game consoles and Wi-Fi enabled cameras — every one of them configured for Boingo access. There's no hotspot too far to visit, as he continues his quest for total Wi-Fi consciousness. Gunga, gunga la-gunga.
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