Travel Site Designed by Parents Brings Dating Algorithms to Family Travel

By Megan O'Neill 

Traveling with kids can be difficult—there are loads of travel sites out there, but it can be a chore to find recommendations on the best hotels, destinations and activities for families.  That’s where MiniTime steps in.

MiniTime launched this morning as “the first family travel and leisure site with personalized recommendations for parents based on the ages of their kids.”  The site, created by the folks behind dating site JCupid, which was acquired by JDate, incorporates a combination of algorithmic recommendations, curated content and a community of parents to help plan the ultimate family vacation for your specific family makeup.

MiniTime CEO John Smelzer says, “Family travel planning is hard, and we intend to make it easy.  There’s a ton of family travel information out there, but it’s scattered and unrefined, forcing parents to spend hours combing through listings and reviews not relevant for their families.  MiniTime solves this real-world pain point by providing parents with recommendations for their families, so they can spend less time planning and more time playing.”

Check out the following video and then read on to find out more.

I asked Smeltzer, via email, to share a bit of background information about the company and its founders.  He told me, “Founders — and serial entrepreneurs — Nimrod Lev and Oleg Sandler, long believed the family and travel market was large and underserved.  After founding JCupid and kSolo, aquired by JDate and FOX Interactive Media respectively, Nimrod and Oleg founded MiniTime as their next entrepreneurial venture.”  Smeltzer joined the team as CEO shortly thereafter.

So what exactly is the experience like for a parent using MiniTime to plan a vacation?  Smeltzer tells me, “MiniTime is designed for parents by parents to make it easy to plan, book and share their family travel experiences.  MiniTime users create a quick profile including their kids’ ages in order to receive individualized travel recommendations for their family.  MiniTime’s recommendation algorithm — analogous to a dating algorithm — ranks hotels and attractions for families with kids of specific age groupings, taking into consideration the type and amount of kid-friendly amenities, proximity to other kid-friendly hotels/attractions, a price-to-value ration and ratings from families of the same age group.”

According to a press release, “At launch, MiniTime has curated over 300 family-friendly destinations in North America and the Caribbean, featuring age ratings and exclusive, in-depth information on kid-friendly amenities for over 1,000 hotels and activities.  Going forward, MiniTime will continue to curate and crowd-source major family travel destinations around the world.”

The company has raised $1 million in financing from seed investors, including Ross Levinsohn, former Interim CEO at Yahoo! And President of FOX Interactive Media.  Levinsohn has also joined the board of directors at MiniTime.

Megan O’Neill is the resident web video expert here at Social Times.  Megan covers everything from the latest viral videos to online video news and tips, and has a passion for bizarre, original and revolutionary content and ideas.