In a time where most destinations are restricted, the world’s dynamic travel industry is more important than ever.
Portico Travel acts as a sandbox for vacation organization, allowing users to save places, various links, restaurants, and more while planning destination itineraries. And, even better, it invites users to share trips and ideas with friends in a collaborative manner, so that no plans, present or future, are lost in the era of information overload.
We asked founder and CEO Jacqueline Hampton about starting her own business, how she travels as an industry insider, and the direction of worldwide travel amidst the COVID-19 pandemic…
What inspired you to start Portico Travel?
Half the fun of traveling is the anticipation of coming up with the ideas, but it can be a really chaotic process. Before, there was no single place to save the ideas I was getting from my friends, from blogs I was reading, and from posts I was seeing on Instagram. I used this seed to create Portico Travel, which allows me to organize my travel plans, look back into previous trips, and add to my bucket list destinations.
How is it of value to the traveler?
From the perspective of educating and broadening people’s horizons, it’s about trying to gain understanding of other cultures. We help you do that. Far too often, I think we don’t understand people, whether another country, or even our own, with a lot of it having to do with misunderstanding cultural differences. Travel provides you the opportunity to try and walk in someone else’s shoes and see how your life could be different. My hope is that you understand the differences you have with others while traveling far away, to understand the differences you have with your neighbor that may just live down the street. Travelers are beginning to research and dream, and that’s great for places like Portico.
How has COVID-19 affected your business?
The Coronavirus has not affected us in the way that everybody may have thought. People look at the travel industry right now and think that it’s decimated – it’s not! The second half of March, throughout the wave of stay at home orders, yes, the business slowed a bit, as people began canceling plans. No later than the beginning of April, our pace accelerated again. The game has switched. People are beginning to say, “I went to this beautiful place, and now I can’t wait to go back,” or they’re saying, “I want to go to the amazing place once the world opens back up,” and they are beginning to plan.
Do you prefer to travel like a tourist, or to see places like a local would?
My favorite thing to do in any city is to sit in a hole-in-the-wall coffee shop for an hour and just watch people walk by. There is a beauty in observing other people’s cultures and finding the similarities between theirs and my own. There are certain tourist-y things you absolutely need to do to check off that box, but there are always different, fun, and unique ways to do them. For example, if you go to Paris, you have to see the Eiffel Tower. There is a little street near the tower where you can walk, eat a club sandwich with the Parisian locals, then take your picture with the full tower in the background.