Fake reviews are costing the travel industry and travellers $152 billion annually.
In direct contrast to the revelation that 4.4 per cent of TripAdvisor’s total reviews in 2023, amounting to a staggering 1.3 million reviews from 131 countries, were fake, two Australian entrepreneurs have introduced a world-first travel platform that focuses on authentic recommendations by the world’s leading creators, acting as travel guides for the cities they love. The free website and mobile application called Exceptional ALIEN then package these recommendations into engaging content and multimedia ‘Travel Playbooks’ that the audience can save, share and use easily bookable links. At a time when the cost of travel remains 50 per cent higher for Australians than pre-pandemic levels, co-founders Michael Canning and Justin Drape emphasise you simply cannot afford to have a bad travel experience in 2023.
To help the travel moguls fight the onslaught of AI-generated fake reviews now flooding online thanks to the rapid adoption of Chat GPT, Exceptional ALIEN has initiated a Birchal Equity Crowdfunding campaign to grow its platform technology and rapidly expand and recruit a global community of trusted creators to its platform. These exceptional talents are sourced from industries as diverse as entertainment, music, sport, technology, fashion, design, entrepreneurial ventures, architecture, the arts, performance, science and more. And after striking a deal with mega booking website Skyscanner to provide curated content for its 100 million monthly users, the website is expected to explode in popularity.
“The sheer magnitude of fake reviews in the travel industry is staggering, with an estimated $152 billion directly impacted on global online spending,” said Canning. “Travel Playbooks represents a paradigm shift in travel planning with recommendations you can trust, and love. Travellers have lost confidence in today’s travel media, with 85 per cent now believing the reviews they read online are ‘sometimes or often fake’. It has been reported that travellers will visit as many as 38 different touch points on their journey to search, plan, and book travel. We think this is a problem that needs to be fixed. This year, TripAdvisor has already removed more than 20,000 reviews across more than 15,000 properties in 159 countries”
Exceptional Alien’s Travel Playbooks are like a “Spotify for travel”. When travelling, people ask trusted friends to share their experiences and recommendations. Exceptional ALIEN shares these recommendations at scale from the lens of exceptional creators. “We interview inspirational people about places they love and share their insights which you can learn from and follow,” said Drape. “A Travel Playbook is a personal play-by-play curation of recommendations from inspiring talents around the globe. They don’t have to be household names, but they are all exceptional creatives at the top of their field, and they all love to travel and unearth experiences that enrich their lives”.
Notable Australians already featured on the Exceptional ALIEN platform include Mick Fanning (surfing), Collette Dinnigan (Fashion Designer), Flight Facilities (electronic music artists), Maurice Terzini (Bondi Icebergs restauranteur), Ako Kondo (Principal Artist, Australian Ballet), Sat Vanska (Principal Violin, Australian Chamber Orchestra), and Rafael Bonachela (Artistic Director, Sydney Dance Company). Internationally there is Karen Walker (Fashion Designer), Ny Oh (Guitarist in Harry Styles band), Uncle Waffles (International DJ), Safa Sahin (Footwear designer Bottega Veneta), Paola Antonelli (Senior Curator of MoMA New York) and many more [see appendix for more detailed list].
“With Australian international air fares skyrocketing by over 50 per cent above pre-pandemic rates, it’s clear you cannot afford a sub-standard travel itinerary. The statistics don’t lie: the average return economy international fare from Australia has surged to $1,827, a staggering 46 per cent increase compared to 2022 and a whopping 63 per cent higher than pre-pandemic fares in 2019”.
Exceptional ALIEN has recently secured a significant partnership with Skyscanner, a global giant in the travel market used by over 100 million people per month. This collaboration will provide travellers with a one-stop destination for authentic and culturally connected travel inspiration paired with seamless booking options. Skyscanner’s extensive reach stands as an example of a new partnership that positions Exceptional ALIEN for exponential growth in the travel industry. Instead of attempting to gather authentic and trusted sources and booking options, it is all accessible for travellers in one place and experience.
As a travel platform powered by community, Exceptional ALIEN has initiated a Birchal Equity Crowdfunding campaign to fund its rapid expansion of platform and new markets. The travel industry is projected to reach over 9 trillion by 2030 – presenting an exciting investment opportunity with a size of prize for investors that is almost unrivalled.
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