Vacations -- they're meant to be relaxing and fun, far away from your busy working lives and daily troubles. But traveling for your vacations can cost a pretty penny once you take into consideration your method of transportation, lodging and any additional expenses that come up.
When I look at my own family, for example, finding flights for four people can take time and, in some case, is not even worth the search effort. For many, traveling has been a luxury that only occurs once every few years because it simply is too expensive.
This demand for travel has led to the creation of well-known travel sites with 20+ years of history and millions and millions of customers. Sites like Expedia and Travelocity were built in an effort to make traveling more affordable to a wider demographic of people in a fast changing industry where customers dictate how they like to shop.
Consumers shop for deals and like to have a variety of options to choose from, with the goal of saving money without sacrificing quality. As a parent, I would love the option of picking cheap flights at reasonable times at an affordable price; there's nothing worse than having to drag your family to the airport to catch a red-eye or a 5 a.m. flight.
There are plenty of programs that benefit travelers who are always on the move and self-proclaimed "travel hackers", but what about for the less frequent traveler? With my two daughters, traveling is much more expensive for my family as I now need to shop around for four people instead of just myself.
Sites like Expedia and Kayak allow consumers like me to compare prices at a number of hotels and airlines in a single browser, and we don't need to be a part of a frequent travelers group. On average, consumers perform roughly 18-25 searches before booking a hotel or a flight, but what they run into is this "ocean of sameness."
What most people don't realize is hoteliers make available only a certain number of bookings to sites like Priceline and Expedia; what's being offered on these sites when consumers search is not what's actually 100% available.
The problem with the Expedia's and Priceline's of the world is that they don't buy all the available inventory to resell to customers. And that's where the TravelPass Group differs from its travel competitors. T
ravelPass is a whole other group that is building a tech marketplace with hotel inventory from Expedia and Priceline networks and wholesaler groups, giving consumers greater access to combined hotel networks as well as pre-purchased inventory. It's about providing the best availability, the best rates and the best non-public (member) offers to individuals who aren't satisfied with their searches elsewhere.
"Today's travelers are looking for sites like ReservationCounter.com that make it easy to find and book accommodations that match their needs," said Daniel A. Nelson, Executive Chairman of TravelPass Group. "Our research shows they want 'shopability.' They want a simple way to check and consolidate all hotel supply sources and see all their available rate options, which brings greater satisfaction and real cost savings, too," Nelson said. "We're building that technology-powered marketplace to do that and to organize the complexities of the hotel distribution system."
Every company that competes in this travel industry space is chasing the notion of giving consumers what they want and how they want it before they've actually told companies what they want. And with so many businesses jumping aboard the travel deal wagon, the companies that succeed are the ones who can boldly distinguish themselves from their competitors.
While there's certainly overlap between TravelPass and their competitors, as a whole, TravelPass is determined to ensure the best public-facing prices and also the best non-public facing offers for their exclusive members. TravelPass has also cleaned up the otherwise messy user experience that many consumers run into on other sites, eliminating the need for multiple browser windows and unnecessary lag time.
It's about User Shopability and providing consumers with the best tools and technology to do so. TravelPass empowers shoppers, giving them the ability to expand booking availability, search based on their preferences, uncover savings and to have an easy, simple booking experience. And TravelPass is taking that User Shopability feature one step further.
Their next travel deal site combines sites like Expedia, Priceline and Kayak into one search, crawling the Internet for the best nightly hotel rate across all hotel booking and travel sites. In a highly competitive industry, identifying ways to simplify and expedite the search process for consumers is how companies like TravelPass become leaders of the industry.
There will always be travel sites that claim to offer the best prices and the best availability - but the challenge, as a consumer, is cutting through the residual noise and identifying which site is actually offering the best deal. Especially when it comes to travel, we want the best rates without sacrificing the quality of our trip, and it can take a good chunk of time searching for those deals.
When it comes to shopping, consumers like having a variety of options at their fingertips, and the travel sites that understand how to take advantage of our preferences will be the ones to watch out for.