Tag: Travel Booking SitesView All Tags
Travel Booking Sites / Travel Websites / RouteHappy / Travel News / Travel Tech / Airplanes / Travel Hacks / → All Tags
"I'm thinking of flying First Class for my big vacation trip!" - Friend
"Not on [redacted airline] you shouldn't! It just won't be the First Class experience you're imagining. Try [different airline] instead; at least it's lie-flat seats." - Us
"Ooh, okay. What else would I get?" - Friend
Cue a two-hour phone conversation that only ended in exasperation on both ends, after googling and browsing airline websites 'til we were blue in the thumbs. If only Routehappy.com had existed last week.
Routehappy actually went live last Friday, which may have been too late for our first timer friend in First Class, but it's right on time for a traveling public increasingly paying attention to the availability of perks on planes. At its heart, Routehappy is a flight search and booking website built and powered by self-proclaimed #avgeeks. At its full potential, it's an educational tool to make you the most informed traveler on the entire
Hurricane Sandy / Frankenstorm 2012 / Hurricanes / Delays / Weather / Airports / Airport News / Expedia / Travel Booking Sites / → All Tags
Now that Hurricane Sandy is upon the East Coast and canceling flights in droves, we're dedicating today to using all our travel know-how (and some on-the-fly advice, as half the Jaunted team is stuck at airports as well) to help you ride out the storm despite delayed travel. Stay tuned and stay safe!
Now, a first-person account from one of our writers who's stuck in the rebooking mess:
When I heard that United was offering free schedule changes for proactive travelers willing to postpone their flights a few days due to Hurricane Sandy, it was an absolute no-brainer. For one, I'm currently in sunny Santa Barbara where the weather has been beautiful, so if I'm stuck, so be it. Why the hell would I want to go east when the storm's a-coming? You know what I mean?
Perhaps more relevant to my decision was the fact that there would no doubt be cancellations all across the board Monday and Tuesday. My first piece of advice to people, especially those who aren't thrilled about airline travel to begin with, is to take initiative when it comes to your itinerary.
Frontier / Airlines / Airline News / Orbitz / Expedia / Travel Booking Sites / → All Tags
It seems like each and every week things get a little sadder when it comes to Frontier. Sure they still have cute and cuddly animals on the tails of their planes, but the feeling you get after flying with them is getting less warm and less fuzzy. The freshly baked cookies are long gone as an in-flight snack, and now it looks like your frequent flyer miles might also be on the chopping block.
Frontier really wants you to book your flights with them and with their website. Sure you’re welcome to click and compare routes and options elsewhere, but when you bust out the credit card digits you better be on their turf.
We’re pretty sure that we're not the only ones who have also been very worried about The Negotiator ever since he apparently perished during a fiery bus crash back in January. We’ve still utilized Priceline here and there, but it hasn’t quite been the same without William Shatnerreminding us how much we could save by naming our own price.
In case you haven’t seen the commercial yourself, there’s been some pretty good news. Apparently our favorite celebrity travel spokesperson survived the bus crash and has dedicated his life to surfing. Thankfully he’s back to show off the Priceline mobile app, and to remind us of all the ways we can save on flights, cars, and hotels.
Sure it’s a little silly, but we can’t think of a world in which Priceline doesn’t utilize Shatner as its pitchman—long live The Negotiator.
We're not as-a-rule opposed to seeing travel advertising mascots getting killed. Last December, when Air New Zealand murdered off their spokespuppet Rico, we even declared ourselves to be fairly pleased. The borderline rapey rat-like character had become insanely grating even (especially?) for a felt puppet. So when the airline announced a viral Whodunit game where players tried to figure out Rico's murderer, we figured that was as good an excuse as any to be rid of him.
But today we weep. For today, Priceline kills off the Priceline Negotiator. The travel industry icon, played by William Shatner, has been the face of the travel bidding and booking company for 14 years. To give you an idea of how big a business and culture story this is, it's being run everywhere from the Wall Street Journal to Perez Hilton. They sound sad too. Not as sad as we are, of course, but it's there if you read between the lines. For his part Shatner describes himself as being "in grief mode."
Travel Booking Sites / Jetsetter / Vacation Rentals / Hotels / Travel News / Hawaii Travel / → All Tags
Pardon us for uttering two very dirty words: vacation rentals. Ew, right? Renting someone else's house is like, for old people and big families and stuff, not for cool people. Or so that's what we thought up until this week, because lovely little Jetsetter.com has gone and launched Jetsetter Homes, with villas and condos and beach bungalows (oh my!) to add to the variety of hotels regular Jetsetter already offers.
Yes, they'll be on limited sale. Yes, you can score a first booking credit of $500 if you book for at least five nights before the end of October. It's standard Jetsetter stuff, just taken to another level.
It maybe seems like there's nothing Jetsetter can't do, what with their grabbing the first discounted rooms at the Armani Hotel Dubai, offering the occasional private jet deal and even planning your trip for you if you're into that sort of thing. They still haven't quite gotten their grip around First Class seats on regular airlines, but that's something we're willing to wait for.
Okay you guys. Enough of this opening multiple tabs and windows to search all your travel options. Travel booking sites are finally getting hip to integrating many modes of transportation into one search, and the latest to up the ante is TripAdvisor.com. In addition to providing flight prices and information, they'll now set you up with rail tickets:
TripAdvisor has partnered with one of the leading mobility and logistic companies in the world, Deutsche Bahn, as well as other top European rail providers including Rail Europe Inc., to give travelers access to train choices across continental Europe as they plan the perfect trip. It becomes the first travel website to integrate multiple rail providers in-line with flight options across a global network.
When travelers conduct a flight search on TripAdvisor, the site will now display rail itineraries alongside flight choices for routes where it's relevant, and in some cases priced even cheaper than air travel. The site has partnered with leading European rail providers, including Deutsche Bahn and Rail Europe, for the beta launch to give travelers access to train choices across continental Europe.
What's up with the chipmunk wearing aviator goggles? Oh, he's just the mascot of new-ish flight search site Hipmunk.com. We've been kind of obsessed with it the last few weeks, and for good reason. Hipmunk is a very cleanly designed site, like if Kayak and Google Search had a baby, and made it display plane ticket options in very appealing ways. Overall, we're loving Hipmunk for two very distinct advances it has over many other booking sites:
1. Flight options display in colorful bar charts: Enter the basic information for whatever flight you wantdates, destinations, class and preferred airline. Now comes our favorite part: the way the search results show up. The default is not to show you tickets by price level or flight length or number of connections, but by general "Agony." They describe it as a "combination of price, duration and number of stops," so it pretty much gives the best summary of what's available. A bright chart is displayed, from which you can easily see the differences between the flights.
Travel Advertising / Kayak / Travelocity / Travel Booking Sites / Travel Ads / Travel Websites / → All Tags
You'd think the recession would have catapulted price comparison engine Kayak.com into universal traveler awareness. The company's internal figures, though, tell a different story. Less than 1/3 of the more than 100 million Americans who use travel booking sites know about Kayak. Even less are able to differentiate Kayak from similar-on-first-look but significantly different competitors like Expedia. In a move that's bound to raise eyebrows in the travel industry and among travel advertisers, the company is shifting their resources into a massive offline ad campaign.
The new ad blitz was launched over the weekend and is set to blanket primetime cable through 2010. CNN, ESPN, and MSNBC have all been selected as venues, presumably on numbers promising that most coveted of travel industry demographics: 25-44 year olds with disposable income. Forbes.com has a full writeup on the campaign, including a description of one of the "witty 30 second spots":
Memo to booking and airline companies: despite how it sometimes might appear, we're on your side. Really we are. We want you to only do smart things. When you do not smart things you incur costs without producing revenue, creating shortfalls that you pass on to us. That means we travel less, which causes us to get just a wee bit claustrophobic, and without getting into too many details - everybody loses.
Shifting gears, the last few years have seen something of a trend among the 30 year old former frat boys who inhabit the classrooms of our nation's fine MBA programs. Specifically, if a project has a Facebook application or somehow involves Twitter, it's gold. Conversely, projects without Web 2.0 tie-ins are preemptively deemed failures. Proposals don't have to make sense. They just has to have lots of phrases like "viral advertising" and "user generated content."
Fast forward a few years and these supple minds are now consultants, randomly going from business to business telling middle managers to invest in Facebook apps. To which we can only respond the same way fashion blogs react when starlets show up to awards shows wearing formal shorts. Oh honey, no:
Microsoft's new Bing search engine hasn't even been available to the public for a month yet and already it's under fire for potentially copying the site's design from good old Kayak. We have to admit that we thought it looked a little too familiar, and the people at Wired recently tore it apart and aired claims on both sides:
There’s no question Bing feels like Kayak. When Microsoft showed us the search engine under embargo, this reporter’s first comment upon seeing the travel page demo’d was 'This looks like Kayak.'
Kayak noticed too. 'We have contacted them through official channels about concerns about the similarities between Bing and Kayak,' Kayak’s CMO told Wired.com 'From the look and feel of their travel product, they seem to agree with our approach to the market.'
That’s careful language for 'Microsoft copied our stuff wholesale.'
While we've tinkered around with predicting airline ticket prices using MSN's Farecast engine, we always seem to pick the routes that cannot be computed or have no cool historical graphs over which to drool. So we're hoping that the upcoming launch of Bing Travel, a combination of Farecast and MSN Travel's content works out much better in terms of doing what is says it will.
And what it says it's going to do is go beyond simply returning results from search queries to help you make a decision. They're even calling it a "decision engine," a kind of Wolfram-Alpha of travel results, able to tell you if what you just paid for your air ticket or hotel room is the cheapest at the moment.
In addition, MSN wants you to keep returning to Bing Travel for more than just price updates and wanderlust indulgences; the site will be supplemented by an online community with blogs from the likes of Peter Greenberg and Pauline Frommer. Watch for it to go live by June 3, but until then check out their official Twitter, the @Fareologist.