Travelstart targets online dominance, has acquired
Irrational Studios, an innovative branding and user experience design
consultancy as they aim to be the top online travel agency in South Africa.Since its launch in South Africa in August last year, Travelstart has
achieved unprecedented success and was recently rated by - the web-traffic ranking report - as one of the most popular South
African online travel agencies.
The Cape Town based team at Irrational Studios recently completed
re-branding the business both locally and internationally.
They are currently working on numerous new projects including a
comparative car hire system, an alternative travel search system, and a
social software program that will enable travellers to connect and share
their experiences.
“These programs are designed to promote client retention and increase
organic search rankings” said Stephens
Irrational Studios was founded by Damian Stephens, former Creative
Director of Ogilvy Interactive and Tinderbox. With designer Anne-Sophie
Leens, he began working on the Travelstart account last year.
“Travelstart is the most innovative online business in South Africa. The
opportunity to establish a branding and user experience design division
within such a company was too good to pass up as there is unlimited
scope for us to do meaningful work. By establishing this division
Travelstart are sending out a message that user experience is at the
core of their business. It’s great for both parties” said Stephens.
Business administration within the two companies has been streamlined
and the team works closely with Travelstart founder Stephan Ekbergh.
User experience design (UX) is a relatively unknown discipline in South
Its aim is to make websites useful, usable, desirable, valuable,
findable, accessible and credible. For Ekbergh, UX contributes to the
bottom line and improves customer satisfaction.

Transactional travel websites are particularly challenging as large
amounts of potentially complex information must be displayed in a way
that makes it simple to understand and use.
Ekbergh sparked an e-travel revolution in Scandinavia in the mid-90s
when he launched his first travel website.