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Through Expedia partnership, this new travel site gets into discounted hotel rooms
GetGoing, a travel site founded in January 2012 that lets you find discounted flights has now moved into the market for hotels. The San Francisco-based startup, with backing from Y Combinator, Digital Sky Technologies, Lightbank and Data Collective, partnered with Expedia to get access to cheap rooms across 140,000 hotels worldwide.
"There's a lot of competition in travel search," said Alek Vernitsky, founder and CEO of GetGoing, listing off companies such as Expedia, Hipmunk, Travelocity, etc. "But we went back to the drawing board to find out what's missing [for consumers]."
What GetGoing found was that consumers want a number of improvements, such as 1) faster search 2) good prices 3) clean and fast user experience, with few advertisements 4) robust map interface 5) ability to see which friends/colleagues lived in cities they were traveling to 6) ability to see which friends had traveled to those cities 7) rewards program that was simple to understand.
These features are currently added to the GetGoing experience. "By partnerhing with Expedia we can offer lower rates but improve on the customer experience [with the social components] and customer support," said Vernitsky.
Here's how it works. You type in where you want to go.
Then you get a list of hotels.
You can also see which friends live nearby or which friends have been there before.
Finally, a traveler can book the hotel through GetGoing, though the entire process is actually handled by Expedia. For this partnership, GetGoing gets a cut of the commission Expedia gets from the hotel rooms. The commission is close to 50/50, said Vernitsky. Depending on the hotel, the commission to Expedia can be 15% to 25%, said Vernitsky.
I first wrote about GetGoing back in March, when it first launched as a place to get a steeply-discounted airfare by choosing two destinations to book in order to get one. It was a way to get leisure travelers to book tickets. To date, the best marketing and distribution technique has been its "Invite a friends" program which gives someone a $50 travel credit for every friend that books a ticket. So far, it seems on average, those who share with friends, share with 200 to 300. And about 20% of tickets booked come from these referrals.
While Vernitsky was willing to share these details, he's as secretive about the company's traction as he is about how much GetGoing has raised.
Asked how many bookings have been conducted on the site, and Robb Henshaw, GetGoing's VP of marketing, had this to say: "In just four months out of beta, we have millions of travel searches. Our conversion rates are high... Better than airline partners asked us to have."
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GetGoing is making it easier and more affordable for flexible travelers to discover and book their next trip. With an average of one out of every five airplane seats going unsold worldwide, GetGoing enables flexible travelers to easily find and book those seats at a significant discount, while helping airlines profitably fill empty seats.
How the Traveler Wins
Using GetGoing, leisure travelers are rewarded with the best prices on flights for being flexible on their destination. For example, if a traveler is seeking a beach vacation and is willing to go to either Barbados OR Aruba, significant savings can be discovered. Or if they want a European vacation and would like to visit either Paris OR Rome – they can save big on GetGoing. A little flexibility can save a lot of money.
In addition to finding the biggest discounts on the destinations leisure travelers are considering, GetGoing also identifies many additional locations to discover, like Pandora for travel. The traveler tells GetGoing the type of destination or experience they want to have, and GetGoing helps discover other affordable destinations they may like.
Why it Works for Airlines
GetGoing provides airlines with a new, unique customer segmentation tool that enables the airlines to target discounts only to flexible leisure travelers. This introduces a new revenue stream for airlines, without disrupting existing revenue sources. GetGoing is a technology platform that works seamlessly with airlines’ existing pricing and distribution systems, so the airlines get a new tool in their arsenal for more effective, targeted online sales.
Through its existing airline relationships, GetGoing is currently flying to hundreds of major airports in over 50 countries worldwide. The company is currently serving 80% of the population of the top 100 major metro areas, and is rapidly expanding its airline relationships and inventory of flights to cover more areas on a rolling basis.
GetGoing is a Y Combinator company based in San Francisco, and is backed by a number of prominent venture capital and private equity funds. For more information, please visit http://www.getgoing.com, follow us on Twitter @GetGoingTravel (http://twitter.com/getgoingtravel) or on Facebook: www.facebook.com/GetGoing.
Joined Vator onAlek is the CEO of GetGoing, where he is responsible for the strategic direction of the company. Alek holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley.