iGoogle gadgets

June 10th, 2008

Although our UWA-based widget works on iGoogle, we decided to do a ‘native’ iGoogle gadget as well, for several reasons - it works better (UWA is great, but it’s not 100% perfect), and it allows us to submit the gadget to more directories, and more importanly - widgetbox, which will hopefully work based on the new code.

Anyway, you can try adding it to your iGoogle page with this link. It looks a bit different and works a bit better than before.

Online Content and Conversion Strategies

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.

TripTouch is useful for college students…

May 29th, 2008

Here’s a link I really liked - TripTouch is mentioned in a long (40+) list of useful mashups:

http://www.collegeathome.com/blog/…

Widget updates

May 25th, 2008

Following a post in Mashable, we found a small bug in the widget - sometimes states cannot be changed. Oops! Anyway now it is fixed.

We also added another small option - to ‘fix’ your location. This means that next time you load the widget (or next time you login into netvibes) you’ll see the same location, and not the automatic location that you are in.

TripTouch travel widget

May 20th, 2008

Today we’re happy to release the TripTouch travel widget. We have built a widget for personalized pages (iGoogle, netvibes).

The widget includes all our content and services - you can the travel guide + photos, accommodation, attractions, restaurants, events, travelers and utilities. All in one easy to use widget, which automatically finds your location.

We have used Netvibes’ UWA to build this widget, which worked out pretty well.

The widget can also be placed in your web page or blog. We can offer revenue-share (on bookings done via the widget - event tickets, accommodation, restaurant booking, etc.).

Check it out here!

Visiting Tripcart

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.

Hotels

May 11th, 2008

We have added hotels to TripTouch! Over 16,000 hotels are now available… in many locations. We have partnered with priceline to offer on-line booking at great prices.

Restaurants

April 21st, 2008

We have added restaurants for TripTouch! You can now find over 6,000 restaurants for many cities mostly in the US, and even book online.

We have partnered with openTable, which is probably the leading US restaurant web site. We’ll be adding more partners to cover more places around the world. Stay tuned…

World events 2008

April 21st, 2008

Wanna find something cool to do in April/May? Here’s a nice list of events you can find world-wide.

I’d like to see the hot-air balloon thing, personally.

Activities

April 14th, 2008

We have added a new feature to TripTouch - Activities. Now you can find local tours, extreme sports, nightlife, animal encounters and all sorts of local activities to do. You can also do online booking, of course.

We have activities for many destinations worldwide (we partnered with Viator for the activities). We will soon add another supplier to give even more activities, and for more places, too.

Enjoy ;-)