After sitting through 33 12-minute presentations during the PhoCusWright conference Travel Innovation Summit Tuesday, our minds (those would be the minds of Sean, Jessica and Katie) are still reeling. Some of the ideas presented were pretty close to brilliant. Some were ideas we could swear we’ve seen before…several times. And some were so behind-the-scenes or tech-oriented that we either couldn’t keep up or, though travelers may benefit from them, we’ll really never know we are using them directly. So, out of 33 presentations, we’ve come up with a list of the top ideas that we think will affect travelers or that travelers can use to improve the way they travel and plan trips. Hipmunk Across the board, we loved Hipmunk for its new spin on flight search. Flight options are represented with colored bars to make it easy to distinguish each option, and nearly every possibility is shown on one page so you don’t have to flip through endless pages of options. Users can sort by price, stops and duration, or they can sort by “agony” – which combines price with number of stops and duration of the flight. You can open multiple tabs within the same window to compare different dates or airports for the same trip, or compare different trips altogether. The interface is easy (and actually fun!) […]
Company Name: Inntopia Official Website: http://www.inntopia.com/ What do they do? Inntopia processes reservations for “Resorts, Destination Marketing Organizations, Central Reservation Agencies, Activity Providers, Web Portals and other Travel Suppliers, Aggregators, and Resellers.” It’s a reservation system for both online and phone-based booking. Are they a business-to-business (B2B) company, or business-to-consumer (B2C)? B2B Founder(s): Sterling Valley Systems, Inc. is the owner and operator of Inntopia, and is based in Stowe, Vermont. Date Founded: 1997 Presentation Notes: Inntopia provides a way to incorporate so-called “non-traditional” or “long-tail” travel products into an existing online travel search tool – things like vacation rentals and activities. The goal is to provide these non-traditional products alongside existing traditional products (such as hotels, flights, and car rentals) so that travelers could more easily book everything in one place. Inntopia believes that the vacation rentals market is already huge, and that tours/activities is the next big thing. Why should/shouldn’t travelers care? This is a system that the end user may benefit from, especially if they want a bit more flexibility over the individual components of a package trip – it would allow travelers to book each item of a package instead of just going with the travel provider had chosen. Some providers that are already using the system, however, are just using it to provide new packages with […]
Company Name: Amadeus IT Group Official Website: http://www.amadeus.com/ What do they do? Amadeus is a travel “transaction processor;” its software runs behind the scenes of many major booking websites and is the software many travel agencies use to search for, price, book, and ticket all kinds of travel purchases. Are they a business-to-business (B2B) company, or business-to-consumer (B2C)? B2B Founder(s): Founded by a coalition of European airlines (Air France, Iberia, Lufthansa, & SAS) as a European alternative to the American company Sabre, Amadeus remains owned in part by Air France, Iberia, and Lufthansa and headquartered in Madrid. Date Founded: 1987 (went public in 1999) Presentation Notes: Amadeus is an established provider of software, but it’s software that’s used by travel agents and therefore something the average traveler will never see. They presented on a new software product, Amadeus One, that they called an “integration solution” for corporate travel. Despite the number of travelers who research and book trips online, travel agents aren’t going away – there are 79,000 in the US alone, and 49% of trips are still booked offline. 30% of tickets are exchanged, which is significantly easier with a travel agent. So this software is very targeted at corporate travel and travel agents, but it’s not a small market. Why should/shouldn’t travelers care? This is a product the […]
Company Name: TrustYou Official Website: http://www.trustyou.com/ What do they do? Search tool designed to sift through “10 million reviews on over 200,000 hotels” to deliver results on hotels that are most relevant to your search criteria, based on other customer reviews Are they a business-to-business (B2B) company, or business-to-consumer (B2C)? B2C Founder(s): Founded by Prof. Dr. Franz Guenthner in cooperation with the Center for Information and Language Processing of the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich, of which he is the head Date Founded: March 2008 Presentation Notes: TrustYou believes the current landscape of user-generated content (especially, in this case, user-generated reviews) is “information chaos” and that their software is how this content will be filtered in the future. The three questions related to user-generated reviews that the software answers are: what reviews and information are relevant to me? what’s the best way to guide users to the information best suited to them? how can you as a provider know what people have written about you in reviews? TrustYou’s so-called “magic box” pulls content from user-generated reviews and filters blocks of text based on keywords and their “evaluative process” to create categorized information. It can even tag comments as either positive, negative, or neutral. This allows users to search the reviews for relevant information, and find specific feedback within reviews quickly. […]
Company Name: gogobot Official Website: www.gogobot.com What do they do? Amalgamates personalized recommendations from friends in an easy to read, linked up format, creating a unique guidebook for each user. Are they a business-to-business (B2B) company, or business-to-consumer (B2C)? B2C Founders: Travis Katz ran the international business for MySpace, as well as IGN, Rotten Tomatoes and other Fox Interactive Media properties prior to founding gogbot. Ori Zaltzman was the chief architect of Yahoo! BOSS, and one of the lead technologists for Yahoo! Answers, in charge of content quality for one of the largest social platforms on the web. Date Founded: 2010 (in beta) Presentation Notes: gogobot operates on the premise that people want travel advice from people they know, not strangers. So gogobot allows users to get personalized recommendations from friends and take all those recommendations and put them in one place, where they can link out to attraction websites, create maps, and browse hotel prices (and then click through to booking engines). Users can also browse things to do, and see which of their friends have been there. Users then end up with a custom guidebook, curated by friends, which they can print in pdf form or take on their mobile. Why should/shouldn’t travelers care? Other sites offer the ability to browse hotels and attractions and see which of […]
Company Name: Hipmunk Official Website: http://www.hipmunk.com/ What do they do? Hipmunk is an airfare search tool that provides results in a way unlike other search sites. It’d designed to make the airfare selection process faster for the traveler. Flights are then booked through Orbitz. Are they a business-to-business (B2B) company, or business-to-consumer (B2C)? B2C Founder(s): The founders of Hipmunk are Steve Huffman (co-founder of Reddit) and Adam Goldstein (co-founder of BookTour). Date Founded: 2010 Presentation Notes: Hipmunk is a new flight metasearch site. Existing problems of other search sites include too many results to digest, deceptive pricing, and sponsored search “results” – Hipmunk’s goal is to eliminate all of those issues. The Hipmunk page uses 80% of the screen for search results by filtering out most of the results by default. You can choose to show them, but options that are considered “worse” are hidden by default on the results page. Flight options are represented graphically with colored bars to make it easy to distinguish different characteristics of each option. Users can sort by price, like other search tools, but they can also sort by “agony” – which combines price with things like the number of layovers that are required. Sliders on the results page allow users to eliminate flights before or after certain times of the day instantly, right […]
Company Name: Bonvoy Official Website: http://www.bonvoy.com/ What do they do? A Facebook app that assists with planning group trips among your contacts. Are they a business-to-business (B2B) company, or business-to-consumer (B2C)? B2C Presentation Notes: Bonvoy says small group trip planning can be info overload – travelers end up with a flooded inbox and possible frustration as they collaborate on the schedule, decide on booking and then try to wrangle everyone into paying their share. Bonvoy tries to simplify the process by allowing friends to do it all on Facebook. They take trip planning “out of the inbox and onto Facebook” where everyone is already. The program allows people to plan, book, and split the cost of the trip, all within the Facebook application. Why should/shouldn’t travelers care? Do we really need another tool to plan and book travel? Probably not. But for organizing trips among your friends, Bonvoy looks like it could be very useful and eliminate a lot of hassle, especially when it comes to dividing up the cost and getting everyone to pony up their share of the bill.
Company Name: Vacation Relation Official Website: http://vacationrelation.com/ What do they do? Vacation Relation will use existing social tools to allow users to “investigate the social aspects of their vacation” before they leave home. Using the site, travelers will be able to find out who else will be at their vacation destination. Are they a business-to-business (B2B) company, or business-to-consumer (B2C)? B2C Founder(s): Peter Sullivan and David Los are the founders of Vacation Relation, and the company is based in Stockholm, Sweden. Date Founded: 2010 Presentation Notes: Everyone wants to incorporate social media in travel planning, but your friends on Facebook who aren’t going on your trip may not care about your trip. The people who will care about your trip are other people who are going to be at the same place you’ll be going. Vacation Relation allows you to use the social media platforms you’re already using (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn) to connect with people who are going to the same place you’re going. When you enter information about an upcoming trip into Vacation Relation, you’ll see the other people who have also added themselves to a similar trip. It pulls information from their profiles into Vacation Relation, so you don’t have to be (for instance) Facebook friends in order to “socialize” with them on Vacation Relation. You can also […]