One year of StaffTraveler: What's next?
About eighteen months ago, my brand-new fiancée and I were about to catch a flight home Narita Airport after one of the most terrific vacations (I proposed and she said yes!).
Quickly scanning the MyIDTravel shop, all I could find were green smiley faces. I assumed all was well and we were flying home anytime soon.
But oh boy, was I wrong. Plane after plane was overbooked and took off without us. How was this possible after finding nothing but green smileys on MyIDTravel?
As a last resort, I posted a question on the Non-rev Facebook group and waited for a response, and waited, and waited and waited. By the time I checked again, my question was on page 15, and no-one had responded. This sucked!
There just HAD to be another way. The airline community feels like one big family. Everywhere we go, we meet up, exchange tips on the best bars and restaurants and, above all, help each other! Can’t we put this great community to use and make non-revving stress free for once and for all?
After finally arriving home, I rang a good friend and we started brainstorming. What if non-revving was stress-free, easy and fun? Why wasn’t there a system were the non-rev community could help each other, while, at the same time protecting airline data? We started coding that day.
The early days of StaffTraveler
If we showed you the very first version of StaffTraveler, you probably would not recognise it. There was no app, no push notifications, no way of earning credits by inviting friends and so on.
We started implementing new features one by one, most of them after being tipped by you: our beloved members! We removed the Beta label and things began to move. I remember daydreaming with my friend about how it would be to have 1000 members. Like, seriously: how cool would that be?
And then, it exploded. We launched the option to invite friends through Facebook and email. The user count went through the roof! We spent hours each day verifying all the new users. We started verifying 5 or 6 people a day. That number went up to 20, 30, then 50 and then… all of a sudden, skyrocketed up to 500 new people every 24 hours, eager to join our StaffTraveler community.
A year has passed now. We have been adding and removing, testing and improving ever since. With all the input from our users, we were able to take the platform to the next level. Throughout the year, we added more and more features when the need arose. Think of reporting inaccurate loads, push notifications, Google login, etc. We even got a deal with one of the biggest travel brokers in the industry, enabling you to book hotels and car rentals trough StaffTraveler with exclusive, hefty discounts.
There is no growth without pain. Reaching 50.000 users within only 9 months, we had to scale up quickly. At a certain point, we just had to disable push notifications for new requests because the servers could not handle it anymore.
We fixed a tonne of bugs that were nagging our users, but we are not satisfied yet.
The next step
As the current code has its scalability challenges, we decided to start from scratch, again. The difference with the first time would be, that we were not alone. When we built the first version, it was just us: two pilots, developing in our spare time. This time, we hired some of the best User Interface Designers and Developers, build the next version of StaffTraveler.
So, what to expect?
Development started a little over a month ago. We are currently 100% committed to making the best app for non-rev. Here is what to expect:
- It is going to be blazing fast, think supercar!
- Beautiful, think supermodel!
- City tips by members, think of your colleague’s insider tips!
- Super easy hotel bookings and car rentals at amazing prices, think cheap!
- Fixing all those nasty bugs, think insect repellent!
- Loads more features, think loads more features!
When will it launch?
With version 2.0 we have an “it’s finished when it’s finished” ETA. We would love to tell you more about how and when, but all we can give away right now is that it will be somewhere shortly after summer. Giving you our very best simply takes time. We are confident that you will love the new app. Thank you for your patience!
Stay tuned and happy StaffTraveling!
The StaffTraveler team