Tuesday, September 16, 2008

GoPlanIt - the Travel representative in the TechCrunch50

The second annual TechCrunch50 conference is over. This is the start up demonstration conference organised by web-celeb and CEO of Mahalo Jason Calacanis and uber blogger Mike Arington of TechCrunch. The conference profiles 50 web/tech start-ups, which compete for a $50,000 prize.

This year's travel nominee/competitor (there only ever seems to be one) was GoPlanIt.

GoPlanIt is a trip planning site. Enabling consumers to add activities, trip itineraries, maps and commentary to a trip plan. Naturally it comes with reviews and social networking/sharing/mobile access elements. It's difference from a "standard" web 2.0 planning site is that you can hit the PlanIt button and have a trip itinerary automatically recommended and built based on the behaviour of other users. This of course can then be modified and edited. The only downside is the that it takes time to build up the necesary history nad connections. Hence the service is currently only available in America. Here is the TechCrunch review/profile.

Being the travel nominee for 2007 was a great kickstart last year for TripIt. Since being part of TechCrunch50 they have raised another round (including an investment from Sabre). Just recently announce that the CEO of Mozilla Corporation (John Lilly) joined the TripIt board. Just this week king of the blogs Robert Scoble asked his readers/twitterers which online travel services they used. TripIt was mentioned again and again in the replies. You can re-read my interview with TripIt CEO Gregg Brockway here.

You can see a video stream of the GoPlanIt presentation here by CEO and founder Steve Chen and the presentation of the eventually winner - Yammer (TechCrunch Profile)

8 comments:

Jimmy Ku said...

Thanks for the great blog entry Tim!

As you mentioned in the entry, we are currently only supporting the "Planit" button for a few cities in the United States. That's because we want to make sure that our users get quality recommendations for those destinations. We will definitely be rolling out more cities in the near future. In the meantime, try it out and let us know what you think.

Thanks!
Jimmy Ku
COO, GoPlanit.com

Tim Hughes said...

Jimmy - would be great to do an interview with either you or Steve. Please email timsboot [at] gmail [dot] com

Anonymous said...

Jimmy, do you have any estimates on when the accuracy of the availability data will be improved?

As it stands, the built trips sometimes have unavailable entries when you look deeper and things can be dragged to dates/times when they are not available.

As such, travelers currently have no way of knowing if what they have planned is actually viable/bookable without looking deeper into each entry.

Also, what is the reason for limiting the pre-planned trips to 7 days?

Well done at TC btw.

Anonymous said...

Easier to avoid the issue rather than address it?

Jimmy Ku said...

@anonymous:

Sorry for the delayed response. We've been busy with the aftermath of TC50 and it's difficult for us to track all of the comments from across the web. If you have additional feedback, feel free to contact me at info@goplanit.com. I've included my answers below.

We are constantly updating our content to ensure that we have the most up-to-date and accurate information that we can. We currently license our data, which helps with the accuracy. And, our users can help us update the information on our site as well. Do you have any specific examples that you found to be inaccurate?

There's no timeline for when data will be completed since data clean-up is an ongoing process. Can you explain what you mean by "unavailable entries"? Are you referring to items that are closed? Or, do you mean items that are being recommended outside of its hours of operation?

Right now, the recommendation engine should be taking into account the hours of operation and the days when the items are open. Do you have some examples where this is not working properly? We’d be happy to check up on those and ensure that everything is accurate. Since we just launched our beta two weeks ago, there might be a few clean up items here and there. But, we’ve been seeing that the information has been pretty accurate so far.

If you move an item into a time slot where it is not open, we don’t have a warning system in place at this time. This may be something that we do in the future. =) For the time being, we want to keep our tool flexible so that people can schedule things whenever they want. But, "Plan it" shouldn't be recommending items to you if it is closed.

The 7 day limit is there to help ensure a quality experience. Having a limit ensures the quality of the recommendations, reduces duplicates, and speeds up response time for our planning tool. In addition, we did some customer surveys and found 7 days to be a pretty good limit for one destination.

Thanks for the feedback!
Jimmy

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