The Travel Startup Blog

Monday, July 30, 2007

New, New, New!

Well a lot has been going on here at Travature and we just decided that we should take a second to blog about everything that is happening:

First off we have quite a few new partners both domestic and international soon to be up in our flight search engine. On the international front there is Singapore Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Austrian Airways, the whole LAN line (Chile, Argentina, Ecuador, Peru, and Dominicana), and Air Canada. As for Domestic airlines we have the new and great additions of Aloha Airlines and Midwest Airlines.

If you haven't heard of Midwest Airlines we recommend you check them out, they are not only a great low-cost airline but they figured out the impossible...yes you guessed right they have figured out how to bake chocolate chip cookies while in the air and serve them to you on every flight (Science holds no boundaries)!

On the user interface side of things our new spec-view is up and running, here is a sample of what it looks like:
As you can see the new spec-view comes complete with:

1) See results as they are found on the internet

2) No additional loading time to see flights on other pages

3) A nifty new look which will keep you coming back for more

On another note, quite a few people have been sending in questions regarding how our flight meta-search works and how it is different from Expedia or Travelocity. There are quite a few differences but the main one being that as a meta-search service we simply run our search, return all of the flights that fit the user's criteria and then put them in order of price from lowest to highest.

The easiest way to think of our service is that instead of having the user go to every site (both airlines and online travel agents) and enter in their desired flight information by hand we do all the hard and tedious work for them; so if they enter that information only once on our site then the list of cheapest flights from many different airlines and online travel agents are returned quickly. The user then selects their flight and books directly through the airline or online travel agent of their choice, there is no middle man taking a cut of the profits, just an efficient, user-friendly, and best of all free service.

The end result is saving our users both time and money!

Now that you know what "We" do it begs the question of what "They" do...The Expedia's, Travelocity's and so forth have a different setup where you book directly through them. They are what is considered a re-seller, basically they are buying the fare from an airline and reselling it to the user. Sometimes this works out to be the cheapest and other times not...

Well I hope that explains a little about what we are doing, at Travature we always appreciate user comments so keep them coming and we will answer them the best we can. Other than that be ready for a few big developments on the horizon.

-Chris

Thursday, July 26, 2007

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Worlds

You know a new feature is cool, when the whole office stops working on what they are doing for 30 minutes and just plays on the site. Such was the case adding photos to our travel guides.

Basically we show the most interesting photos from that ultra groovy photo sharing site flickr for any travel location. Click on the photos and you'll be taken on a slideshow tour, viewing the top 100 images.

[Begin computer geek talk] Those of us that are tech geeks especially like our photo implementation because we use some pretty hot stuff: a flickr mashup made possible by possible by ajax, and json plus the super groovy lightbox (well actually litebox) js class. If anybody is interested in how this works, we'd be happy to share our experiences. [End computer geek talk].

Discovering new places takes on a whole new feel when you now can see the most dramatic elements representing that place. Using this with our cool I'm Feeling Adventurous feature, is a lot like spinning a globe, putting your finger on it, and getting to feel what its like be in the place you pointed at. Random discoveries of places and images is intriguing and at times provocative and surprising. Those of us in the Travature camp have already found new places to add to our list of must visits, and after going on a few of our photo tours, we think you will too.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Big Screen Debut

Quite a bit has been going on over here at Travature, as most of you know our public beta version is being released within one month! There will be lots of new cool utilities and we have a few unique ideas which will bring together many aspects of online travel information...

But while we have been busy developing our resources our mascot (Travature Man) has gone ahead and shot his first video! It is part of the Youtube Presidential Debates and so far he has been a big hit (it's even more exciting than watching David Beckham stretch, warm up, and not play soccer at an L.A. Galaxy game). We invite you to check out his video premier and we will keep you up to date if Travature Man gets any more starring roles in the future!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Tag It Up

Yes, it seems the whole World Wide Web 2.0 has gone crazy with Tags. Travature of course can't be left out and has joined the tagging band wagon. Of course, besides allowing us to now claim that we do tagging at high-class cocktail parties (ya right, as if we get to go to those), Travature tagging turns out to be amazingly cool, because it really shows how powerful integrating travel information is.


For example you can tag a travel guide (such as Los Angeles) "beach". Now of course, you can now click on that beach tag and see all the other travel guides that are also tagged beach. But wait...thats just the beginning. We really get into a whole new level of coolness when we bring that concept to our flight engine. You see now you can go to our destination view flights page (again a refresher to do that is go to travature.com/flights and ONLY put in the city you'd be flying from) and you of course get to our super sweet view that shows all the places you can fly. But, now theres an option box on the left that can filter flights based on tags. Thats right, if you click on a tag (such as beach) you'll now see all of the places (and corresponding prices) to fly that are tagged beach, from the travel guides. This really is a cool way to get some basic level airfare comparisons between vacation destinations that meet your interests. Compare Tropical Islands, Surfing destinations, Mountains to Skii, Places to get Sun, and well,,, basically anything you guys can think of to tag.

(Random Trivia: The cool photo sharing folks at flickr apparently 'came up with' the tag cloud concept).

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

New Distance Filter for Destination Flight Planning

Filters gone wild! The engineers are at it again, this time they've added a super groovy way to find places to fly based on how far it is from your home base.

Maybe you want to go on a last minute rendezvous for the weekend and you want to go somewhere farther than driving distance but you don't have enough time to fly half way around the world. Well then just go to our simple and trusty destination view (for a reminder that means leaving everything blank in the flight form except your departure city). Once at the destination view just move that handy little slider bar on the left over to the "Outing" section. And like a miracle from the computer gods you'll now see all the recent flights that we found leaving from your departure city and going farther than a few hundred miles from home.

What was that? You say that you've got more time and you want to really put some distance from home. Well its time to go exotic, just turn that slider from "Outing" to "Trek".
And then if you've robbed a bank and literally need to go half way around the world there's always the "journey" or the full on "voyage" option. Anyways you probably get the idea, so head over to the flight section, have fun - see how far you want to go, the worlds a big place!
 
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