Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tuesday's Travel InsideOut

It’s about time someone data-mined and used all of that historical data on flight delays to tip off travelers to expected on-time arrival woes. Without delay, Flightcaster, a start-up which reminds me of another company engaged in data-casting, began informing passengers about airline-delay patterns.

TechCrunch: YC-Funded Flightcaster Tells You When Your Flight Is Delayed Hours Before The Airline Will: Flightcaster taps into a variety of data sources to try to uncover the truth. The service keeps track of FAA alerts, weather, network congestion, historical trends, and other factors, which are all run through an algorithm to provide an estimate of how likely it is that a given flight will be delayed. Read more


Cendant Travel Distribution Services, an Orbitz Worldwide ancestor, acquired HotelClub and RatesToGo in 2004; Priceline.com purchased Booking.com the same year; Expedia Inc. added Venere to the fold in 2008; and now Travelocity picks up Travelguru as the blueprint for bolstering its hotel inventory in India. Buy and then build is an answer for adding inventory from the fragmented hotel market in parts of Europe and Asia.

Hudson Crossing Travel Industry Insight: Travelocity Gets a Guru: How Will the Gnome Feel?: This morning, Travelocity announced the purchase of Indian portal Travelguru. Interestingly, the press release calls Travelguru "India's leading hotel distribution network" which it may very well be. Adding 4000 hotels, most of which are independent, non chain affiliated properties is a major coup for Travelocity and for Sabre, particularly if they are able to expose this new inventory in the Sabre GDS. Adding hotel inventory in India is, in a word, hard. The extremely limited presence of the large chain hotels makes adding inventory a slow, manual process that requires lots of feet on the street. It appears Travelguru has solved this issue. Read more


Norm Rose has studied the fast-moving mobile market and believes that travel companies need to think both short-term and long-term when developing mobile strategies for Smartphones. Rose posits that browser-based applications may dominate in the long run, but downloadable apps will probably be the right move over the next 3-5 years.

Travel Technology: Smartphone Market Share Influences Download versus Mobile Web Debate: In a recent article from Media Post a software application developer from Istanbul, Turkey attending a conference in San Jose, California, voiced his opinion that the US does not understand the importance of the Mobile Web. This article reminded me of the panel discussion I moderated at the PhoCusWright @ITB conference in Berlin earlier this year where the subject of downloadable applications was debated against the advantage of the Mobile Web with a panel of European mobile travel experts. Read more


Airline passengers in Europe have it all over their U.S. counterparts because the European Union has a passenger rights law in place. That type of legislation seems to have been discarded like a piece of lost luggage in the U.S., where airline passengers have very limited protections.

Voice of America News: Avoid Your Own Air Travel Horror Story: Imagine that you’ve made it through airport security and have found your seat aboard a commercial airliner. You sit back and think about the great vacation or business deal at the other end of your flight. Lost luggage and delayed takeoff are probably far from your mind. But unfortunately they are not far from the reality of modern air flight. Read more

Eight airlines, including American Airlines and Southwest, stepped up and agreed to use renewable synthetic diesel fuel to operate their ground-service vehicles at LAX in a bid to reduce their carbon footprints.

Dallas Business Journal: AMR, Southwest sign on for renewable fuel: American Airlines Inc. and Southwest Airlines Co. are two of eight airlines that have agreed to use Rentech Inc.’s renewable synthetic diesel fuel to run the airlines’ ground service equipment operations at Los Angeles International Airport. Read more


Travel InsideOut is a Dennis Schaal Blog daily feature. Get a thorough-going look at the day's travel industry top and tangentially interesting stories. Feel free to comment on them below.

Travel InsideOut is Copyright (c) 2009 by Dennis Schaal. All rights reserved.

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