Earlier this week a new online travel site launched called Yapta (read my earlier more in-depth post here or the WSJ's follow-up here). CEO Tom Romary came to my Disruptors roundtable in LA a month ago, and we put together this CNNMoney video. (Full transcript after the break):
In it, he explains how Yapta aims to disrupt existing travel sites like Expedia, Orbitz, and Travelocity. Yapta helps you track fares for specific flights, and if the price drops after you buy a ticket, it helps you get a refund. But only if you buy directly from an airline's Website.
Check out the video, and let me know what you think. Should I do more, or should I stick to print?
IN THE QUEST TO GUARANTEE FLYERS THE CHEAPEST AIRLINE FARES ONLINE -
ONE START-UP THINKS IT HAS THE PERFECT ALTERNATIVE TO SITES SUCH AS EXPEDIA, ORBITZ AND TRAVELOCITY.
SO PERFECT IN FACT - THAT IT CALLS ITSELF "YOUR AMAZING PERSONAL TRAVEL ASSISTANT" - YAPTA FOR SHORT
IS THE TITLE WORTH THE HYPE?
I SAT-DOWN WITH YAPTA'S CEO TOM ROMARY IN LOS ANGELES TO FIND OUT.
--TOM ROMARY, CEO YAPTA---
We track prices for consumers, we let them know when prices drop so they can get the best deals.
We also continue to track pricing after people buy their ticket and we inform them and alert them on the specific flights that they've purchased, when they are eligible for a refund or a travel voucher// and there is no company today that literally takes a specific flight, tracks prices multiple times a day and tells you when you're eligible to get those //refunds or travel vouchers.
ERICK SCHONFELD, EDITOR-AT-LARGE BUSINESS 2.0,
SO IN A WAY YOU ARE REALLY DISRUPTING THE TRAVEL SITES, AREN’T YOU?
I think that what we're doing is disrupting the online travel planning.
We're not really disrupting the airlines. We're providing a benefit to the airlines that helps them build loyalty with consumers.
They will not honor their guaranteed airfare rule policies if you buy through Orbitz, Expedia, Travelocity, or any travel agent. They want to build a direct relationship with the consumer.
So they'll honor the policy only if you buy on the airline site, which is why we connect the consumer to the airline.
OF COURSE, TRAVEL SEARCH ENGINES LIKE EXPEDIA AND ORBITZ ALSO OFFER FARE ALERTS AND EVEN FARE INSURANCE.
AND IN RESPONSE TO THIS STORY, EXPEDIA POINTED OUT:
“FareAlert tracks all flights for a user. ,,, If they find a better price online for the same trip within 24 hours, we'll refund the difference and give them a $50 travel coupon.”
KEY DIFFERENCES ...
YAPTA TRACKS WELL BEYOND 24 HOURS AND HELPS CONSUMERS GET REFUNDS DIRECTLY FROM THE AIRLINES
IF YAPTA'S STRATEGY PROVES SUCCESSFUL ... WHAT'S NEXT?
You can say, “Alert me when the price for that flight drops below 300 dollars.” But you could also, in the future, say, “Alert me when I can take that flight and spend 40,000 miles on it.”