Company Name: Kony Solutions Official Website: http://www.konysolutions.com/ What do they do? Provide a suite of products and support services that enable Fortune 500 companies to offer consumers feature-rich mobile applications. Are they a business-to-business (B2B) company, or business-to-consumer (B2C)? B2B Founder(s): Raj Koneru has over 18 years of experience delivering to global enterprise business requirements. He co-founded Intelligroup (NASDAQ: ITIG) which grew to a $200m company over five years, and built Seranova (NASDAQ: SERA) which he grew to about $100m in revenues within 2.5 years and was sold in 2001. Date Founded: 2007 Presentation Notes: With a slogan of “write once, run everywhere” Kony makes apps that work on various mobile systems, including iPhone, Android and BB operating systems. Why should/shouldn’t travelers care? This is a straight B2B company, and while travelers will probably use some of the apps created by Kony, they probably won’t care or notice who the app designers were.
Company Name: CruiseLabs Official Website: http://cruiselabs.com/ What do they do? OTA software for booking cruises online. Are they a business-to-business (B2B) company, or business-to-consumer (B2C)? B2B Founder(s): David Tossell was formerly a director at Travelocity and oversaw Travelocity’s Private Label Business with AMEX, AOL, Yahoo, AAA, AARP, American Southwest & 1,900 web sites. Paul Jenkins’ prior role was as CTO at Vocada, a medical communications company that sold to Nuance Communications in 2007. Date Founded: 2009 Presentation Notes: The cruise industry has the lowest online booking percentage among travel transactions, in part because “booking a cruise online is too difficult.” Consumers rely on travel agents to sort through the many possibilities, including departure dates, cruise line options, and cabin choices. The CruiseLabs consumer booking tool simplifies the process. Users can pick multiple months, departure points, cruise lines, lengths, and prices and compare all the available options, with text and photo content that provides more information to help them make their decision. The tool walks users step-by-step through bookings; once they choose the cruise, the program walks them through cabin choices, using floor plans and taking into account pros and cons of each location, and allows them to add-on additional services and upgrades. Why should/shouldn’t travelers care? Travelers who prefer to take the reins and plan their own trips may appreciate [...]
Company Name: Gekko Official Website: http://www.gekko.com/ What do they do? Gekko is a “hotel recommendation engine,” through which you can then book the hotels the site recommends to you. Searches are based on a hotel users like – anywhere in the world – and the results display hotels similar to that one in the city a user is traveling to. At present, there are 130,000 hotels in 184 countries available through Gekko. If users join the Gekko community they can save favorite hotels and recommendations, and share them with friends and others in the Gekko community. Are they a business-to-business (B2B) company, or business-to-consumer (B2C)? B2C Founder(s): Dutch internet entrepreneur Dino van Es founded Gekko and remains on the board, and the company is based in Amsterdam. Date Founded: 2009 Presentation Notes: Gekko inserts text links for hotels into content, so when a user reads about a particular trip and sees the hotel name is a link they can hover over it and get a pop-up window. Within that pop-up window they can find out more about the hotel, including rate, photos, maps, reviews, availability, and they can even book the hotel right from within that pop-up window. It’s good for the content provider because it means users will never have to leave their site in order to complete a [...]
Company Name: EChannelSearch Official Website: http://www.e-channel.com.au/ What do they do? Pay-per-click and SEO agency. Are they a business-to-business (B2B) company, or business-to-consumer (B2C)? B2B Presentation Notes: Millions of people use search to find millions of products, and advertisers can customize ads for certain keywords. But, EChannel asks, what if you could customize an ad for every single product you offer, creating thousands of different ads for thousands of different keyword combinations? The company claims to offer ” the power of a thousand search engine marketers at the click of a button.” Why should/shouldn’t travelers care? Maybe you’ll notice that ads you come across on the internet seem more relevant to what you were searching for. Maybe you won’t. If you’re anything like me, you’ll just continue to ignore text ads altogether.
Company Name: FlyMuch Official Website: http://flymuch.com/ What do they do? FlyMuch is a browser add-on that enhances the experience of shopping for travel and makes it easier to compare deals. Are they a business-to-business (B2B) company, or business-to-consumer (B2C)? B2C Date Founded: 2010 (in beta) Presentation Notes: The average traveler spends 29 days and 12 internet sessions looking for travel before booking. FlyMuch is a browser add-on that offers personalized and goetargeted info based on your search that can help you find deals and reviews that are relevant, without you having to leave the site you are on. The add-on only engages on travel sites, you can close or minimize it, and when you leave and go to another travel website, it comes with you. You can also enter your loyalty info and it will show your mileage balance and help you find deals in your rewards program. The program also shows recent deals from a given provider so you can see if you are getting the best price, and it shows online reviews so you know you are making the right choice. Why should/shouldn’t travelers care? The idea of finding everything you need to book your trip, all in one place, without needing to visit dozens of different sites is appealing. But do users really want a browser add-on [...]
Company Name: GroundLink Official Website: http://www.groundlink.com/ What do they do? GroundLink is an aggregator of more than 45,000 independent ground transportation vendors – including limousines, taxis, vans, shuttles, buses, car rental, and ride-sharing. Customers can rate services after use to help GroundLink offer more tailored search results to future customers. The B2C component of GroundLink’s product line is an iPhone app. Are they a business-to-business (B2B) company, or business-to-consumer (B2C)? B2B and B2C Founder(s): Alex Mashinsky is the founder, CEO, and Director of GroundLink. Mashinsky previously founded several other companies, including Arbinet-telexchange. Date Founded: 2003 Presentation Notes: GroundLink is a ground transportation aggregator, giving travelers all options for ground transport between any two points in the world – including limos, taxis, shuttles, coaches, and even armored cars. They’re global, in 172 countries, and in most places they only need one hour advance notice in order to book transportation. Because individual drivers/companies will deal with GroundLink regularly, they’re less likely to try to cheat them with “tourist prices” (as some taxi drivers are notorious for doing) – so the idea is you’re going to get a better deal than if you tried to haggle with a driver you’d never see again. There’s an iPhone app that allows booking in real-time, an online version, and a phone booking option. Users are shown [...]
Company Name: SilverRail Technologies Official Website: http://www.silverrailtech.com/ What do they do? Consolidate passenger rail content from around the world into a single integrated technology platform that removes the complexity of selling rail — expanding global distribution at less cost. Are they a business-to-business (B2B) company, or business-to-consumer (B2C)? B2B Founder(s): Prior to founding SilverRail in 2009, Aaron Gowell built one of the largest travel technology and distribution companies in the US: National Leisure Group (NLG), a $1 Billion ecommerce leader in vacations & cruise. Will Phillipson helped build NLG’s dynamic packaging technology/product, which powers 20 brands — like Orbitz.com — and integrates global distribution for more than 2,000 suppliers. Date Founded: 2009 Presentation Notes: In Europe, if the distance is less than four hours by train, train generally owns 60% of the market over flying. $200 billion was invested in rail last year, making it the fastest-growing travel segment. SilverRail aggregates rail from around the world to sell on websites, allowing consumers to then book rail (or rail with hotel or air) directly through those online travel booking engines. Consumers can also book directly through SilverRail’s B2C site, Quno.com. Why should/shouldn’t travelers care? It’s always been tricky to figure out rail options without checking each individual train company’s website. It can be even harder to navigate that site, and some make [...]
Company Name: TripAlertz Official Website: http://www.tripalertz.com/ What do they do? TripAlertz is a private, members-only site where prices on hotels and resorts are driven down by the number of people who buy a given deal. Budget Travel called TripAlertz “Groupon for travel.” Are they a business-to-business (B2B) company, or business-to-consumer (B2C)? B2C Founder(s): Brendan Murphy is the founder, and is a former VP of Sales and Marketing for American Express Travel Affiliate. The Executive Chairman is Mark Donohue. Date Founded: 2009 Presentation Notes: TripAlertz is based on the concept of viral marketing. Since the price on a deal goes down as the number of bookings go up, users will be motivated to share deals with their friends and family to get them to book. Each time the price on a deal you’ve already booked goes down, you’ll get a text message telling you that you just saved more money – and you’ll also be told about opportunities to apply your savings to additional activities on that trip. TripAlertz is not like similar existing sites (JetSetter and Excursionist) because these aren’t big two-week trips or even luxury resorts necessarily, they’re more average places that most Americans book when taking shorter trips. There’s only a 2-night minimum stay as opposed to a longer stay required. Starting in January, if users motivate 3 [...]
Company Name: Movitas Official Website: https://movitas.com/ What do they do? Mobile marketing platform for travel and tourism business, with complete mobile destination solutions that drive new revenue through integrated mobile commerce,content, messaging and social media. Are they a business-to-business (B2B) company, or business-to-consumer (B2C)? B2B Founder(s): Keith Forshew, Chief Executive Officer, is the former Chief Operating Officer of StarCite, the largest group travel lead generation source for the hotel and hospitality industry. Presentation Notes: Movitas mobile marketing platform for hospitality companies would allow guests to enhance their resort stays using their mobile phone technology. Whereas the old way of communicating with staff on a resort property is using the room in your phone, now you would use your smart phone to search for local things to do, find nearby restaurants, book tours, and add services to your hotel stay, including dinner reservations, spa services, and tours. Your mobile device becomes your “remote control” to do everything on the resort property. The program can enhance the ability of the hotel to meet guest needs, enhance guest service,and increase revenue by showing guests new opportunities. Why should/shouldn’t travelers care? Being able to order and book all your activities at a given hotel, simply by using your smart phone, would be pretty cool. I doubt most travelers would choose a property based on [...]
Company Name: Revinate Official Website: http://www.revinate.com/ What do they do? Monitors millions of sites, including review sites, blogs, twitter and news for mentions of customers’ hotels, providing insight into what people are saying about each brand without the hotel having to do the monitoring themselves. Are they a business-to-business (B2B) company, or business-to-consumer (B2C)? B2B Founder(s): Prior to co-founding Revinate, Jay Ashton was President of Five Star Alliance, the leading online travel booking engine for luxury hotels. Marc Heyneker co-founded Revinate after spending over 9 years as a top sales executive at Akamai Technologies. Presentation Notes: Revinate helps hotels manage their online reputation. Social media and hotel reviews give hotel owners the best sense of guest satisfaction. Opinions posted on websites and affect how people book, but tracking all the online chatter about a property is time-consuming. Revinate amalgamates all reviews across the web and puts that information onto one page that hotels can check at a glance. The program uses keyword analysis to track overall guest sentiment so that hotels don’t have to read every review to get a picture of their online reputation. They can also respond to reviews directly from the program, so that all responses are stored and tracked on their end. The program also shows social media mentions, twitter replies and mentions, blog post mentions, and [...]
Company Name: mileBlaster Official Website: https://www.mileblaster.com/ What do they do? Tool to track frequent flyer programs – how many miles/points you have, when those miles/points expire (as well as how to keep them from expiring), how to best use them, and how to earn bonus miles/points. Currently available as an online widget, an Adobe AIR widget, and an app for some mobile devices. Are they a business-to-business (B2B) company, or business-to-consumer (B2C)? B2C Founder(s): mileBlaster is the first product from CTM Holdings, LLC, of which Jack Costello is CEO. The company is based in Cambridge, MA. Date Founded: [unable to find this information] Presentation Notes: Jack Costello, mileBlaster CEO, gave the presentation. It’s a way for travelers to use their frequent flyer goals as part of the decision-making process when booking a trip. It’s a widget that goes onto travel search engine sites and incorporates someone’s frequent flyer program information into the search results – each result will show a traveler how many miles it would take to get that flight for free, if you have enough miles to get that flight for free, if there are bonus miles available for a particular flight, and whether that flight would get you to a free trip with that program. Users could also track their status as an elite flyer and see [...]
Company Name: Voyavo Official Website: http://voyavo.com/ What do they do? Search tool that adds flights, hotels, cars, and activities right from search to your itinerary, creates one trip itinerary that users can share with others, organizes multiple details in one place and offers a map view of your trip. Are they a business-to-business (B2B) company, or business-to-consumer (B2C)? B2C Date Founded: 2007 Presentation Notes: Voyavo allows user to build multiple and flexible itineraries that include hotels, trains, vacation rentals, taxis, and things to do. The listings for things to do incorporate user-generated content like blog posts, videos, reviews, and FourSquare check-ins, allowing users to get a more accurate picture of how others feel about that attraction. After users create an itinerary, they can view it in map or calendar form, post it to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google Buzz, or send to friends, who can then comment on the itinerary. The finalized itineraries include directions from place to place, and can be viewed from smartphones, allowing users to take their itineraries on the go. Why should/shouldn’t travelers care? Voyavo looks like a handy tool for planning a trip with friends, allowing users to create and share itineraries without having to send multiple emails back and forth. Similar to TripIt, the site also consolidates all your travel information in one place, [...]
Company Name: Everbread Official Website: http://www.everbread.com/ What do they do? Developers of a “proprietary fares and pricing engine” called Haystack designed to give online airfare booking sites (including airlines and travel agencies) to “offer cheaper fares on a greater number of flights.” Are they a business-to-business (B2B) company, or business-to-consumer (B2C)? B2B Founder(s): Four co-founders – including current VP for Strategy and Business Development, Assen Vassilev – brought in Danish investor Morten Lund as CEO. Lund previously invested in companies like Skype and Zecco, and Vassilev is a former “founder and CEO of an online travel potal and a travel technology company.” Everbread was founded and remains headquartered in London, England. Date Founded: 2010 Presentation Notes: The presentation was given by Assen Vassilev, who says that Everbread is “everything between hitting the search button and seeing the results page.” Everbread isn’t a booking environment, it’s not a meta-search, and it’s not an OTA. Vassilev says the company’s product, Haystack, will allow search results to be tailored by a customer’s profile to give them better results – things like how old they are, whether they get a military discount, etc. The results will help compare apples to apples, showing users flights that are actually similar in terms of level of convenience, price, etc. With Haystack, search is “complete and personal,” and [...]
Company Name: UsingMiles Official Website: https://www.usingmiles.com/ What do they do? UsingMiles is the only website that allows you to manage, search, and book travel using your frequent flier miles and hotel points for free. UsingMiles works for dozens of airlines and several hotels right now. Loyalty programs from rental car companies and credit cards are coming soon. Are they a business-to-business (B2B) company, or business-to-consumer (B2C)? B2C Founder(s): Krista and Austin Presentation Notes: Frequent flier accounts are like bank accounts, yet many people allow the miles expire, essentially throwing money away. Over 180 million people around the world have frequent flier miles; most belong to as many as seven programs. There are 20 trillion outstanding frequent flier miles right now, the equivalent of millions of dollars in rewards. UsingMiles allows users to manage all their accounts, see the balance and status of each account (so they don’t lose miles) and – uniquely – allows them to search for flights across all of their programs at once. The search also compares the value of the miles to the value of the cash, and tells you if it’s a better value to book with your miles or to buy the tickets with cash. Why should/shouldn’t travelers care? Travelers who belong to multiple frequent flier programs may find the UsingMiles site to be [...]
This week is the PhoCusWright 2010 Conference – and even if you feel like you know the travel world well, don’t be surprised if you’ve never heard of it. Many of my friends in the Travel Blogging world ask me “What is PhoCusWright?” and let me tell you, for BootsnAll’s first 6 or 7 years we had no idea either. JR, one of the Co-Founders of Virtual Tourist and Dena Yehya (now one of the 35 under 35 folks) asked me around that time, “Sean, are you going to PhoCusWright?” After taking a risk and plopping down 3 or 4 large, I went and I have been coming back ever since. So what is PhoCusWright? It’s the ultimate B to B Travel Industry Conference, in my opinion. CEO’s of large publicly traded companies like Expedia, Priceline and many B to B companies that I never heard of before coming to PCW are here. As well as start-ups with a hopes, prayers and swinging for the fences in the travel industry come as well. So I find it to be a excellent chance to meet-up with lots of new and old friends and competitors to talk, learn, and evolve. Someone from BootsnAll, usually me, has been attending the PhoCusWright Conference for several years, but this year we’ll be gathering more information [...]
This is a quick word of warning to anyone who’s subscribed to the RSS feed of this blog or receives updates of new posts via email – or just anyone who casually stumbles on the blog on Tuesday, November 16. There are three BootsnAll staffers at the PhoCusWright Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona this week, and tomorrow is the third annual Travel Innovation Summit. Throughout the day, more than 30 companies will each get 12 minutes to tell the conference audience what they’re all about and why they should be voted the best travel innovation of the conference. As each company is giving their presentation, we’ll be making notes – and as each one finishes, we’ll publish a brief profile of the company and their PhoCusWright presentation right here on the blog. In other words, you’ll get something of an deluge of new posts from us tomorrow. We promise this high pace of posts on the blog is temporary, and we’re not going to get into the habit of inundating you with blog posts. We also hope that you find the information interesting, especially as the presentations may introduce you to companies whose services you could end up using as a travel consumer. We’ll recap the official finalists from tomorrow’s presentations, let you know which ones were our personal favorites (even [...]