"The problem I identified was that travel planning was really hard," Amanda Joseph (Darden '19) explains the dilemma she faced while trying to plan a trip. "There was just so much information out there. It was difficult to know what to trust and how to account for differences in taste."
While Amanda was traveling abroad for four months before starting her MBA at Darden, she found that her favorite travel moments came from personal recommendations from friends. So, she had the idea when she came to Darden to start a website where you would be able to plan your trip completely based on personal recommendations.
Trulli is a platform to search, share, and build travel plans based on recommendations from the people you already trust the most: your friends. Amanda believes that some of the popular travel sites, like TripAdvisor, simply have too much information, "you see a three-star TripAdvisor review, and you don't really know what that means. We're at a point where there's just so much information available that people are looking for curation." Amanda recognizes that people are looking for trustworthy and relevant recommendations, things that other travel sites do not offer. With Trulli, you can search your destination, see all of your friends that have been and exactly what they loved doing there, so you can build your trip accordingly.
After facing a few setbacks when Instagram and Facebook curtailed their API's due to privacy concerns, Amanda had to rework many things about Trulli. "My original conception of the site was that you would log in through Instagram and Facebook and that is how you would find friends," Amanda explains. "Then we found out we would no longer have access to peoples friends list. I had to completely rethink how you would log in and connect with friends."
This setback led Amanda to launch in a similar launch style as Facebook. Trulli is being introduced exclusively at business schools across the country. You must have an MBA email to join the site. Part of the reason Amanda chose MBA's is because of research she did that revealed business students are spending $20,000 on average over their two years on personal travel. "They're traveling a lot already," Amanda explains, "and they are part of these built-in networks. So, when an MBA logs onto my site, if they go to Darden, they are going to see other people that they know." Now Trulli works to conquer individual networks and ensure users have friends already existing on the site.
The name Trulli comes from a little town in Italy called Alberobello. Amanda traveled to this little village after a friend recommended it to her, "It's a small town, and it's just filled with these tiny white hobbit-like huts. I asked what they were called, and they were called Trulli. For me, that was the perfect name for the site because I would have never found this incredible village without a personal recommendation."
Over the next few weeks at the i.Lab, Amanda is preparing for her ten new launches at different business schools in the fall. She's working on setting up an ambassador program at each school to help keep Trulli thriving after the launch.
Although I am not a business student myself, I plan on traveling abroad during the fall of my junior year. I think that Trulli would be an excellent way for college students going abroad to share their trips and itineraries with fellow students, especially those who are traveling to the same places. Amanda said she wants to expand to colleges and universities after she completes her MBA launches, and I would love to take advantage of what Trulli has to offer.
Pictured above are the Trulli in Alberobello that inspired Amanda.