[GoPlanit’s public launch was announced by CEO Steve Chen while he’s presenting on stage as a finalist during this year’s TechCrunch 50 Conference. Travel planning can be very frustrating and time-consuming. GoPlanit helps simplifying this – saving the time, money, and aggravation! Our guest editor Jonathan Tse got in touch with its COO Jimmy Ku, and here is his experience.]
GoPlanit is an extremely useful travel planning tool because it’s like your own personal travel agent and hotel concierge. When you travel, it’s either for business or pleasure. With work or vacation on your mind already, it can be frustrating and time consuming to research details, organize travel plans, and coordinate with others. GoPlanit simplifies the frustrations associated with travel by saving you time and money.
Whether you are a detailed oriented traveler who wants to plan everything or someone who wants to be given an itinerary, GoPlanit handles it all for you. Their “Planit and Go” feature creates a custom recommended trip itinerary for you in one click. This itinerary accounts for your personal preferences, friends’ recommendations, and each recommended item’s popularity, rating, proximity to your location, hours of operation, and more. For example, I asked my friend from Shanghai to plan a trip to San Francisco. She’s never been there before and GoPlanit gave her an immediate planned trip that she could follow, complete with hotel and restaurant suggestions. She shared this itinerary with me through GoPlanit‘s social travel/networking features, and I changed her itinerary on the fly since I am very familiar with the city and her personal preferences. She then finalized her trip by reviewing my suggestions and changing a few destinations to better suit her time table and interests. GoPlanit‘s “fill in the gaps” feature also proved useful for my friend when I only gave her a few places of interest for her third day in San Francisco. “Fill in the gaps” inserted suggestions into the free time she had that day. What she liked the most about GoPlanit was the ability to add, delete, and move around items in her itinerary because it gave her a lot of freedom to do and choose what she wanted.
GoPlanit‘s mobile access can also be very useful when you’re out and about. With a phone that has Internet access, you can find new things to do near you and update your itinerary on the fly. GoPlanit‘s micro-blogging (twitter for travel) feature also allows you to easily update your trip details (where you went, what you spent, who you met, etc) with notes, pictures, and ratings from your mobile phone.
From a business perspective, I think GoPlanit has a solid way to make money with a strong user base. Being a one-stop shop for all your travel needs, they are revenue sharing with partners who specialize in airline and hotel reservations such as Orbitz, Expedia, Kayak, etc. Furthermore, being a social website and with enough user profile information, they can bring relevant ads to users and therefore earning CPM rates.
GoPlanit has a lot going for such an early stage startup with a strong team, a good idea, excellent execution, and a great user interface. I will continue to use GoPlanit to plan my business and vacation trips since I like having a free personal travel agent and hotel concierge at the touch of a keypad or keyboard!