St. Pete man creates app to help travelers stay organized when planning group trips

As travel demand picks up, group trips are on the horizon again and a St. Pete entrepreneur hopes his new app will make planning a little easier.

The app Takeoff just launched last week to help plan itineraries and split payments for group travel. The startup’s founder and CEO Chase Harris said his own rescheduled group trips due to the pandemic made him realize there was a gap to fill.

"A lot of, like, my bachelor parties and group trips like that got pushed to 2021, which ultimately caused me to have about eight or nine bachelor parties that I had to attend in that year," said Harris. "Then I just started noticing the common theme of unorganization. It’s really hard to split the payments, even with these other apps that are out there for the big-ticket items within the itinerary."

Harris and his team are based in St. Pete and attended the technology conference the Synapse Summit last week in Tampa to promote the new app’s launch on Feb. 17. He explained how the app works.

"A host can create a trip and invite whoever is going to be on that trip with them. And basically, what you do is you pick and choose between restaurants, nightlife, golf grounds and then any other kind of really itinerary experience and add that to your trip, and then you pre-pay leading up to it," said Harris, adding that people can also set how much they want to pay.

Takeoff partners with lifestyle concierge services that plan the experiences and handle the operations, so the app keeps tabs on what you’ve signed up for and a payment schedule.

"So, instead of settling up at the end of the trip with everybody that, ‘Oh, I covered this dinner. You covered that,’ the big-ticket items are covered," said Harris.

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So far, Harris said they’ve partnered with travel experts in Las Vegas and Miami, and they plan to launch the next city in about six months.

"We're just putting their offerings front-facing the client, allowing them to use and pick and choose what they want to do on their trips," said Harris.

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Tampa is on the future cities list too. The Takeoff team expects travel to really pick up this year.

"With COVID, people have been so pent-up and not been able to travel with groups, travel with the family across the country and all over the world, actually," he said. "As things open or open back up, fingers crossed, we'll be there to kind of take out that headache in the planning side of things, in the splitting of payments and make it easier for everybody to get back to the normal travel that they've been used to."

The app is currently invite-only in its beta phase, so you can request access on the Takeoff website.