IDEA & OPPORTUNITY > Effortless online travel organizer
Anyone who's ever traveled is surely familiar with the dreaded Manila Folder-that sheaf of printouts, receipts and tickets we rely on to stay on schedule during a trip. Now TripIt promises to free us from those manila shackles with an online service that organizes all the pieces into a single, consolidated itinerary.
Users begin by simply forwarding all their travel confirmation emails to TripIt. The site can accept booking confirmations from most travel agencies, airlines, hotels, rental cars, rail providers and even restaurants. All information is kept strictly secure and confidential, and TripIt's "Itinerator" automatically combines everything into a single master itinerary. TripIt then searches the web for complementary information, including Google maps and directions, weather from the NOAA, SeatGuru airplane seat advice, Wikipedia city information, current events information from Eventful, city photos from Flickr, and dining reservations from OpenTable. Users can print out their itinerary and go, or they can customize it with additional maps and directions, notes and webpages. Itineraries can be accessed while on the road from a mobile device, synched into Google or Outlook calendars using iCal, and also shared with friends, family and colleagues through the site's social TripIt Friends component. TripIt is free to users around the world; advertising and referral revenue opportunities are in the works.
TripIt was launched into beta in September by a San Francisco-based team including former executives from online travel firm Hotwire. They explain: "We are frustrated travellers who have worked in both travel and technology for a long time. We know firsthand that using the Internet to make travel plans and organizing the details is difficult and time consuming. And, the problem is getting worse as more people choose to make their own travel plans and as online travel options continue to proliferate."
TripIt's mission is to simplify the Internet travel experience, and by combining an email-enabled mashup with social networking, it appears to be succeeding. The site was a finalist at the TechCrunch40 conference in San Francisco as well as one of just six Launch Pad finalists at the annual Web 2.0 Summit. The company is open to partnership possibilities. One to investigate-or emulate?
Spotted by: Linda Smith
Content courtesy: www.springwise.com