Archive for the ‘Gil’ Category

No Jerusalem for WAYN

Sunday, December 21st, 2008

We usually don’t like to say bad things about other travel website. For me, WAYN is a bit of a problem.

I first saw it when TripTouch was just an idea. I was a bit discouraged to see many of my ideas already implemented. But when I played with it I felt that the execution and usability aren’t so great, and decided we could do better..

I also think that their mailing policy is a bit aggressive, I get too many useless emails from them.

Recently I found a strange but intersting fault I want to share. Browsing WAYN’s travel guide to Israel I couldn’t find Jerusalem. Well, Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, a holy city for 3 religions and a very impotant travel destination. They have Afikim, Baqa, Dabburya (?), Gelilot, Netivot, Or Yehuda (!) and many more obscure locations but not Jerusalem.

I’ve mailed them about it more than a month ago. Recently I’ve got a reply that ‘have confirmed that this problem is still being resolved’.

Lets see, I’ll update if something happens. Meanwhile you can use our Jerusalem page (yes we have it).

Travel 2.0 Israeli Project

Monday, September 8th, 2008

From various reasons I decided to get in touch with other israeli web travel startups. I’ll share some of my imressions.

Tripcart is a trip planner focused in US. We wrote about them and our visit there a few months ago.

A quite similar project is TripWiser.  They also started with the USA but now they cover other worldwide destinations. They are based in the west coast, but the entrepreneurs are Israelis, so we are counting them as well. Even their US (compete) traffic graphs look quite similar to Tripcart.

Codeshare took a different direction. They started with a web service that was called Bemember. We found out about them in our early days and were afraid that our ideas were ’stolen’. Later they decided to approach the accommodation industry. Their main product is called Comcierge Lounge, it offers travel information and services to hotel guests.

There are 2 companies who take the B2B2C concept.
Ticketad  is quite a veteran, offering local events and attraction to their partner’s clients. will be interesting to see their upcoming new version.

I think the newest project is Truvle. They offer travel agencies revising the boring e-ticket and making it a marketing platform.

And don’t forget our project, TripTouch a widget based travel homepage covering 5,200 worlwide destinations with best of the web content and services.

I think it’s not surprising to see so many Israeli travel services, because Israelis love to travel and many of them have the entrepreneurship spirit.

Personally, talking to all of these guys, I think they are all talented and nice people. I wish us all the best of luck. and maybe, as one (potential) investor told me, a consolidation of some kind can be beneficial.

Well, that’s a challenge.

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Sunday, July 6th, 2008

I recently e-met Guy Kawasaki, who told me about his new project-   alltop.

It’s an digital magazine rack of many popular topics. The idea is to collect stories from “all the top” sites on the web. At each Alltop site, they display the headlines of the latest stories from dozens of sites and blogs. Some of the topics covered are: Travel, Startups, Venture Capital, Bloggers and even Israel, Religion and Sex (not porn!).

I tried the travel section and liked it. There are lots of interesting sources for travel enthusiastics. Maybe even to many, but you can hide feeds you don’t like.

Interesting to see how this project eveolving.

Online Content and Conversion Strategies

Thursday, June 5th, 2008

Eyefortravel is organizing a conference named World Travel Market this November.  One of the conferences is ‘Online Content and Conversion Strategies’. I was asked for my input on this topic:  What functionality and usability is essential to engage customers online, and what rich media can enhance their online experience.  How can you maximize conversions and yield online.   

These are the key question for online travel, and I think for web sites in general..

I believe there a few elements to address:

First, you need great content.
There are few strategies for this issue.
You can create your own content (LonelyPlanet, TripCart). The problem with this strategy is that it’s almost impossible to create and maintain updated information for many destinations. So you need either to be very rich or to narrow your scope. Also, it’s a pity to create content because there’s so much around anyway.
Another option is to utilize user generated content (Wikitravel, Virtualtourist). To do this you need a really large community. Another pitfall is that most UGC platforms encourage mainly tips and reviews, which are not very accessible and easy to use.
Our strategy here at TripTouch- which not surprisingly I think is the most appropriate- is to aggregate and integrate content from many relevant sources. We try to give our users the best and most updated information available.

The second element in my opinion is usefulness: simplicity and ease of use. We believe that a travel site should be a useful tool, and not necessarily the most beautifully designed. Designing the UI of TripTouch we tried to make it as useful and simple as possible. I hope we’ve succeeded.

The third issue I want to address is how to reach the audience. I believe it’s our greatest challenge. Our approach is to create a variety of means to use our service.
We’ve just released a widget that can be used in iGoogle and Netvibes.
We plan to create widgets for more platforms and find partners so our users can find us easily and to be exposed to more audiences.

Well that’s what I think, comments are welcome.

Visiting Tripcart

Thursday, May 15th, 2008

A couple of days ago we drove to Raanana to meet Elliot and Yotam, the founders of Tripcart.

It was interesting to meet another Israeli travel startup, and to find the similarities and differences. I think both companies started from the same motivation: the love for travel and the vision of creating a better solutions for travellers.

Other than that we took very different paths: Tripcart focus is planning, TripTouch focus is “on the go”; they cover the US - we are worldwide; they create their own original content while we aggregate and integrate from other sources; they are into family vacations and we approach independent and business travellers.

We both face similar challenges with competition and investments. I wish Tripcart success- and maybe we’ll find a way to help each other along the way.

Tripup is closed - Tripup users are invited to TripTouch

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

Randomly surfing the web I noticed a strange message instead of the Tripup homepage: ” Tripup is gone, sorry. Maybe you can use Facebook instead, it’s very popular.”

It’s sad to see a website gone, or “deadpooled“- knowing the effort and energy it needs to build it.

I found Tripup (or as it was called then TripMates) when I started to work on our project. I quite liked the site and considered it as a fair competitor. Then I read that it was acquired by sidestep, we saw it as a good sign- a well established travel site acquires a travel community.

The problem probably was that tripup never got traction and traffic, and Sidestep merger to Kayak caused changes in the focus (as Tim in the BOOT hints).

So we say to Tripup users: Facebook is very popular indeed, but it’s not a travel tool. Try and you’ll find here most of the features you used to have in tripup.

And if someone from Tripup reads this, why don’t you contact us? Maybe we can think of a way to help your community.