Can you get there from here? Routes solves complex travel problems

Photo courtesy of Nordic Startup Bits
Examples of some of the routes available on Routes’s website and app.

Daniela De Lorenzo
Nordic Startup Bits

Nordic Startup Bits met Routes at Oslo Innovation Week 2015, where the founders pitched to investors and tried to grow their audience at the Afterwork Startup event at the re-launched co-working space MESH.

“We started out with testing the concept on an event in Oslo, a popular pub-crawl called Tom Waits. We thought why not make a route for this pub-crawl and post it on the Facebook group?” says Andreas Bollestad Pedersen, Business Developer at Routes. “One link and a few hours later, we were linked by the biggest newspaper in Norway and called ‘the official Tom Waits Guide.’”

The four members of Routes, who have named their team the Routyfruits, believe in the possibility of simplifying travel experiences with their app, through user-generated routes—including drinking routes!

“The reason we wanted to build Routes is because we believe most travel apps don’t focus enough on user-generated content,” said Bollestad Pedersen. “So we wanted to come up with something stupidly simple and addictive, where people immediately understand their purpose, which is to create and explore routes.”

The young team—all in their mid twenties—is composed of Bollestad Pedersen, designer Bendik Skotland Hansen, and developers Michael Gunnulfsen and Truls Skeie.

Photo courtesy of Nordic Startup Bits
The Routes team at Oslo Innovation Week.

Nordic Startup Bits had a chance to ask the Routes team a few questions:

Nordic Startup Bits: Can you tell us a bit about your app?

Routes: The project began at Startup Weekend in late February 2015. Routes is a social app where users create and discover a new form of travel guides. It’s simple, fun, and delivers awesome travel tips in an engaging and user-centric application. On top of the user-generated guides, we deliver even more value by aggregating images, ratings, and direction services from third-party services such as Instagram, Yelp, and Google. On top of that, everyone can create routes. It’s easy and fast. And all the routes are open without having to create a profile. You can share every route easily in social media and find them on Google. Every route has a unique URL and contains tailored SEO tags.

NSB: How does Routes differentiate itself from the existing travel app industry?

R: The travel app industry is huge with many competitors. We compare ourselves to apps that deliver travel guides. Our uniqueness is that we deliver a super simple niche concept, and we just happen to solve complex travel-planning issues and inspirational content behind a simple interface. Call it Instagram meets Reddit in a conceptualized travel book.

NSB: How does a user create a route, and to what extent will you supply content?

Most travel apps handpick the best content. We turn this around by stating everyone has a route to make, and it’s up to the community to vote on what’s best. When the users create a route, we spice it up with valuable information such as ratings, pictures, and videos and lay it out on a map with direction info.
When you make a route on the web today, the user adds spots to the route through our searching system. A Google search happens behind the scenes, and we do the rest of the job by finding accompanying venues through third party APIs. The user picks what third-party data he or she wants to show.

NSB: What are the next steps for Routes?

R: We are currently building the native mobile application. This will be our main platform where people can use Routes when they travel. On the business side, we are working with attracting relevant partners to grow and build content. We use other social platforms to spread Routes and bring existing tourist communities to us.

Learn more about Routes at www.routes.guide. The Route mobile application is now available on Google Play in some countries and on iTunes.

This article was originally published on Nordic Startup Bits. View the complete article at www.nordicstartupbits.com/2015/11/16/routes-solves-complex-travel-planning.

This article also appeared in the Jan. 27, 2017, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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