Pintrips is a free application that enables users to search for flights, pin any they're interested in and track any pricing and availability changes.
Chosen flights appear in a dashboard for easy comparison with any changes automatically updated and there's also the ability to share information with others via live chat and social media.
The service went into public beta last week and has been developed with the help of VaultPAD Ventures, a network of mentors and investors for travel and tourism startups.
Pintrips is led by a 10-strong team headed by chief executive Stephen Gotlieb formerly boss of an engineering consultancy and technology chief Eugene Mirkin, founder of Bobik and Via-Cell Technologies.
So far the startup has raised funds from friends and family to bring Pintrips to beta launch and is currently raising series A funding.
The company is targeting the unmanaged business travel market as well as leisure travellers and is going after a 186 million tickets market based on the following calculations.
"Based on data from the ‘Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ the US market had 640 million domestic enplanements and 96 million international enplanements. We made the following assumptions to define our market. The average flights taken per ticket sold is 3 for domestic. Half of the international enplanements are for tickets sold in the US. We also know that 86% of total tickets are sold online.
Therefore we can say that the total addressable market for the US only (we are planning to go internationally very soon) is 186 million domestic tickets."
Pintrips sees a wide open market as new services around pinning so far allow for travel with no platform specific to flights.
It has a four-pronged revenue model:
• Revenue from partner OTAs and meta search engines
• Revenue from airlines
• Revenue based on selling key customer metrics, behavioral and loyalty data
• Revenue from advertising targeted to the individual consumer
Q&A with Stephen Gotlieb:
How is the way you are solving this problem more special or effective than previous attempts you or the market has seen before and how different do you have to be to succeed?
By introducing an entirely new category, Pintrips is entirely different from anything in the market. New flight search websites are launched all the time and consumers have grown frustrated and uncertain of which sites to trust. Pintrips solves multiple problems. By adding a layer that solves flight search result complexity and by allowing customers to search for flights wherever they want, Pintrips is allowing for loyalty to be built for individual search or airlines or OTAs sites.
Unlike other travel bookmarking sites that coordinate what to do when you get there, Pintrips coordinates how to get there with the only live, automatically updated pricing and comparison dashboard. We allow travelers and travel groups to monitor flight options in real-time and make a decision, without having to log into multiple airline or travel search sites over and over again to get up-to-the-moment pricing.
That means no more…
• Typing in your search criteria over and over again in each travel site you visit
• Time wasted obsessively checking and re-checking flights across multiple websites every day (or hour) in order to catch the best fare before it disappears
• Difficult communication and unbearably long email threads trying to coordinate travel between friends, family, or co-workers
• One or more members of a travel group being “out of the loop”
• Jumping around between the different tabs within your multiple open browser pages to compare your options from different site, for different dates or different destinations
• Frantically trying to relocate a flight you saw earlier on a specific travel search site
• Dead links that don’t access intended flights to be shared among members of a travel group
• Overload and clutter in flight comparisons
• Getting mired in the RE process:
o Re-looking up
Why should people or companies use your startup?
Consumers are faced with an extremely confusing and frustrating experience when they are planning and coordinating travel. The current tools available require them to do multiple searches, in multiple browser and multiple tabs, across multiple sites to view and compare their options. For each site they visit they are required to re-enter all of their travel parameters. This process has to be repeated several times a day over the course of weeks to get to the point of decision and booking. Further, travelers are faced with the inability to share their flight findings with their travel community in a productive manner enabling for easy coordination. They are stuck in a chain of hard to follow emails with stale flight data.
Pintrips is harmonious travel planning that does away with tiresome and tedious, never-ending site searches, unbearably long email chains trying to coordinate travel among a group, and the impossible task of having two or more travelers look at the same flight at the same time.
Key benefits for travelers:
• Automatic, real-time price and availability updates for your selected (‘pinned’) flights
• Unprecendented side-by-side comparisons from anywhere on the internet - in a one simple page/dashboard that allows you and/ or your travel partners to view, compare, and collaborate in the flight selection process from all
• Ability to book a flight straight from your Pintrips dashboard, without having to locate your specific flight on another website
• Live chat and instant sharing among multiple members of a travel party
• Intuitive tools for coordinating with travel partners or co-workers right in your Pintrips dashboard
• Automatically populated search criteria in each new site you visit while pinning, and direct link to the results page of that site
Other than going viral and receiving mountains of positive PR, what is the strategy for raising awareness and getting customers/users?
• Referrals through shared dashboards and fundraising for marketing campaigns
• Partner support for pinning/ loyalty building
What other options have you considered for the business and the team if the original vision fails?
We have a strong believe that the big picture vision is the correct one to tackle: Solving the frustrations that consumers face when planning travel. What can certainly fail is our strategy behind the vision. Is the product that we currently built the right one to fulfill that vision? Is our approach to the product going to be adopted by the consumers? …
If those questions and others show that we failed, we will pivot and continue. Every effort has to be made to go after the big vision behind Pintrips.
What mistakes have you made in the past in business and how have you learned from them?
There are two big mistakes that we can pinpoint. They actually do go hand in hand - hiring the wrong people and trusting the wrong people. The people involved in the project have a very big influence on the product and its quality. We learned that we have to be very careful who we have involved in the project and we have to evaluate closely their motivation.
What is wrong with the travel, tourism and hospitality industry that requires another startup to help it out?
• Lack of trust in any one flight search site
• Lack of loyalty - the average traveler visits about 22 travel-related sites during 9.5 research sessions prior to booking (source: Compete, Inc.),
• Search results chaos
• Obsessive price-comparison consumer mentality
NB: Disclosure - Tnooz node Timothy O'Neil-Dunne is a founding member of Pintrips
This sounds like a useful tool - a sort of Gliider for flights for those who remember it. And for those who don't, Gliider was a drag and drop widget to help users collate and sort travel information via a Firefox plug in.
Imagine those times when you just want to quickly see and compare who is offering what for a simple point-to-point from say, London to Dublin, and you need to look at the multiple options from Aer Lingus, easyJet, Ryanair and various permutations thereof.
Well Pintrips reckons it has the answer, although it's initially only for the US with plans to go international very soon. Users enter their search criteria once and the tool does the rest, including live pricing and availability updates, via a dashboard. They can share it for group travel purposes and it enables consumers to book directly from the tool.
Interesting that they're going after leisure and unmanaged business especially in light of travel management companies and corporates taking notice of tools such as Yapta FareIQ.
You could see it bringing some order out of the flight results chaos and becoming a tool to turn to help organise things but not sure about it being able to address the lack of loyalty and 'obsessive price-comparison'.
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NB: TLabs Showcase is part of the wider TLabs project from Tnooz.