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Gilt Groupe: Startups Prepare for Takeoff

A new generation of online travel companies is trying to compete with billion-dollar juggernauts such as Orbitz and Priceline.com

May 05, 2011
Bloomberg Businessweek

• Hipmunk
The 10-person San Francisco company was started by MIT grad Adam Goldstein, 23, and Steve Huffman, a co-founder of social news site Reddit.
Why to get onboard
Selecting flights ranked in Hipmunk’s “agony” feature minimizes the number of itineraries with long durations or out-of-way layovers that appear in results.

• Gogobot
Founded by early MySpace employee Travis Katz, Gogobot has backing from prominent investors including Google Chairman Eric Schmidt.
Why to get onboard
Gogobot users link up their Facebook and Twitter accounts to crowdsource trip recommendations from people in their social networks.

• InsideTrip
Travel industry veteran Dave Pelter founded this Seattle startup.
Why to get onboard
InsideTrip compares flights using 12 criteria, including legroom, aircraft age, on-time record, and the airline’s likelihood of losing luggage. Pelter says he’s in talks with popular travel websites that want to buy his rankings.

• TripIt
The online travel organizer was acquired by Concur Technologies for as much as $120 million in January.
Why to get onboard
Send a flight itinerary to plans@tripit.com and the site builds a custom report with weather forecasts and maps. For $49 a year, it’ll provide mobile alerts when a flight is delayed or prices change.

• Room 77
The two-year-old startup hires contractors to walk hotel hallways and gather data.
Why to get onboard
Room 77 ranks individual hotel rooms based on such variables as price, bed size, floor, and distance from the elevator. It uses Google Earth simulations to approximate the view from any room.

• Jetsetter
The New York-based site is owned by luxury clothing discounter Gilt Groupe.
Why to get onboard
Jetsetter offers members discounts of up to 50 percent on travel to luxury resorts and exotic locales. Most sales last only 36 hours. A new iPad app offers 360-degree views of some travel destinations.

Gilt Groupe: Startups Prepare for Takeoff

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