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Data is promising to be a real differentiator for new travel intermediaries. The meta-search site is one category that is trying to become more meaningful on the basis of data sources.
Travel meta-search sites are increasingly able to interpret what a traveller is thinking and find ways to differentiate between flights in a more human way. This is in their interests. After all as airline distribution evolves, many players are looking to highlight the amenities and services air passengers care about most in order to differentiate. This ability to be more than just any other search engines is a welcome change from what has become a somewhat commoditised experience. Rather than producing straightforward results, companies are now able to connect users with what they expect or even delight them with what they didn’t expect, thus lending a new dimension to search.
Flight search today is predominantly based on price and schedule which forces consumers to choose flights based on the lowest prices. “This is problematic for the airlines and consumers,” says Robert Albert, founder and chief executive, Routehappy, a new meta-search site that launched in April.
Consumers have been trained to treat flights as a commodity and are unable to choose flights based on the experiential factors that matter most - factors like seat comfort, entertainment, and WiFi. That’s where Routehappy steps in.
“Commodity based flight search blocks airlines from differentiating their products from competitors. What’s more troubling is that the airlines are spending billions of dollars upgrading amenities and services and purchasing new aircraft, plus refurbishing older planes. But until Routehappy, no travel site - not even the airlines - exposed this data in search results so flyers can find the best planes with the comfiest seats and most amenities,” says Albert.
The site’s mission is to help people fly happier for less. To do so, the team has built a new breed of meta-search site to expose the experiential factors flyers care about most such as seat size (pitch and width), Wi-Fi, and entertainment. “For the first time, a travel site is allowing flyers to compare comfort alongside price and schedules,” says Albert.
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