Last year in Denver marked the first time that Jeenie™, a real-time, real-person, face-to-face translation app made an appearance at IPW. The new start-up product, which was a hit demo at the most important international trade show for Visit USA business, featured Chinese-English at the time (both Mandarin-English and Cantonese-English) and found itself in immediate demand.
This year, both the popularity and presence of Jeenie have grown—so much so that IPW is partnering with the service so that US travel suppliers and exhibitors will able to use discounted packages of Jeenie for immediate, on-the-spot interpreters.
More on those packages later. Right now, here’s a quick refresher of what Jeenie is and how it will work for IPW delegates—from Kirsten Brecht Baker, Jeenie’s founder and CEO.
What It Is: Jeenie is a peer-to-peer marketplace for on-demand video or voice calls with human language and cultural concierges. Our mobile app, with the tap of a button connects customers to live—this is human not machine—a language help and cultural advice, in less than 60 seconds.
How Did It Come to be IPW’s Translation Service? Baker told us that at the company’s first IPW last year, Jeenie shared a booth with North American Journeys, it ended up with about 90 appointments—almost all of which were international, mainly from Asia.
“We used our appointments to demo what was a very new product at the time,” explained Baker. “We were just launching our Jeenie product, and still working on the app in the background.”
“What we noticed was that, in the midst of doing a demo, our linguist was kind of taking over and facilitating a conversation between us, the exhibitor, and the attendee. It was quite obvious that, before we had the linguist pop up, and before we had somebody in front of this attendee who spoke their native language, there was minimal communication; there was minimal relationship development. They often had their own interpreter with them but, quite frankly, either the interpreter didn’t have super strong skills or they were also a little, kind of trepidacious—maybe a little embarrassed to ask too many questions.”
At first, conversations with tour operators and others were limited, Baker explained. “Then, as soon as they had this person in front of them who was clearly bilingual and bi-cultural, they immediately started engaging … gushing questions like ‘Can I use it here?’ ‘How would we use it there?’ ‘Is it commissionable?’ All these different kinds of questions started coming out. We were like, ‘Oh my God!’”
She added, “It’s so interesting that simply by introducing this three-way conversation, if you will, the appointment is so much more productive. On the second day at IPW people started coming from other booths, saying “Could I borrow your app for an appointment that I’m having, because we’re having challenges with language?” That kept picking up over next two days, and we thought: “You know what? There’s a very interesting use case here.”
That’s when we spoke to Jake Steinman (founder and CEO of the NAJ Group, Jeenie’s boothmate), who then introduced Baker to Malcom Smith at US. Travel, senior vice president of business development, US Travel and IPW general manager) and Susan Sandberg (US Travel’s senior director, meeting and event services), and we had a conversation about what it would be like to have a service like Jeenie at IPW.
“We talked with them about what we hoped would be a mutually advantageous engagement, mostly because, from US Travel’s standpoint … the objective of an exhibitor when they come to IPW is that they want to promote their destination or heir service, and they want to do that effectively,” said Baker.
US Travel picked up on the notion and is now partnering with Jeenie by offering different translation packages. (See table below) And now, Jeenie™ is the Official Language Assistance App of IPW 2019.
Available Languages: Jeenie is available for English to: Cantonese/Mandarin; Japanese; Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Italian and Korean. (Look for more languages in the future.)
What will it cost? IPW and Jeenie™ are partnering to provide suppliers/exhibitors with on-demand language assistance. IPW has negotiated exclusive discounts for exhibitors at IPW 2019. Choose the package that is right for you and your booth based on the number of international appointments you anticipate:
Exhibitors establish a single account log-in which can be installed on multiple devices, and minutes may be shared. MINUTES DO NOT EXPIRE. If you do not use all your minutes at IPW, you can use them for follow-up meetings. Above discounted package prices are valid through May 31, 2019, only. Pricing will increase for purchases made on-site at the trade show.
* Any usage in excess of the minutes included in a package will be billed at our standard rate of US$1.00 per minute.
If you have any questions, or would like more information on the IPW Jeenie service, visit https://www.ipw.com/translation-app
If you have any questions about Jeenie itself, contact the Jeenie team at: [email protected].
Also, Jeenie’s IPW booth number is 3123.