Darjeelin, a French startup that launched in 2013 with what it calls a human-powered flight search engine, has been acquired by Voyage Privé Group-owned L’Officiel des Vacances, a site that offers travel deals from around the web.
Terms of the acquisition remain undisclosed, though my understanding is that Darjeelin’s CTO is moving on to pastures new, while CEO Charles Guilhamon is sticking sound, and that L’Officiel des Vacances is buying all of the startup’s assets and plans to incorporate some of its features into its own offering.
By employing the ‘crowd’, Darjeelin lets you search for and compare flight prices. Through contest form, experts are tasked with going off and finding the cheapest flights on a bespoke basis for users who pay a small fee in return. A process referred to by the French startup as ‘flight hacking’, as those in the know — frequent flyers, experienced travellers, professional travel agents — use their expertise to source and manipulate the best online offers.
It also helps solve the problem whereby searching for the best price for a flight has become a lot harder due to the proliferation of online travel agencies, and the thousands of so-called special offers flooding the web, making it a sometimes daunting and incredibly time-consuming process for the average flyer, who is unsure whether or not a better deal can be found.
To that end, L’Officiel des Vacances says Darjeelin brings its experience of crowdsourcing and “sourcing and management of an online expert community”, and that it will offer a complementary service to L’Officiel des Vacances by building on its proposition as an alternative to automated meta-searching, with an emphasis on human-peered search.