Traveas Expands Mobile TravelPlanner Service

Traveas, a Swedish travel information startup, has signed a deal with travel agency network European Travel Interactive AB (eTRAVELi). eTRAVELi operates big travel sites under different brands such as Seat24, Supersaver, Flygvaruhuset, EasyT, Töölö, and Travelfinder in seven European countries.

eTRAVELi will launch Traveas’ white label service TravelPlanner, allowing eTRAVELi customers get their personal itineraries directly to their mobile. TravelPlanner provides one-click access to all information related to the booked trip, including additional information such as real time status of the flight, current weather in the destination, map to the hotel, as well as car rental information. Furthermore, the customers will also be automatically notified via SMS message about any changes like delays or terminal changes.

Traveas has so far signed travel agencies from the Nordics and the biggest European markets. Jack Melcher-Claësson, co-founder, comments to Arcticstartup that so far no travel agencies who have started their trial have given it up after the trial. The value proposition to travel agencies is that they get to offer better service to their customers, and can increase their average revenue for a booking – the agencies can choose to charge a small fee from the end customers for the service, or provide it for free. Traveas gets revenue share on each subscriber. The TravelPlanner service is the perfect example of a great value proposition, additional revenue generating service with no-fuss implementation. Not that hard to sell these times… According to Jack Melcher-Claësson the firm also has one major multinational travel agency customer, but is not allowed to state the name publicly due to contractual issues. Nevertheless, Jack describes it was a “true Cinderella story” that they were able to land this customer as a young new startup last year.

Traveas also offers consumers globally TravelTracker service on their website to search, find, and track flights directly on mobile regardless of the destionation or airline. After the beta is over Traveas will start charging a small fee for the service. However, according to Jack the business-to-business approach will nevertheless be the main focus. The company also has a service for hotels, sending customers SMS instructions on how to find the way, and a phone number for booking changes or cancellations.

One cannot avoid comparing Traveas to TripIt, as there are quite similar features. The main difference is in the go-to-market approach, though. Whereas TripIt has been very active reaching for the end users directly, Traveas is looking for partnerships with travel agencies, airlines, and hotels. A big advantage for Traveas is that you get SMS automatically to your phone with a personalized URL – no need to login, your trip information is shown right away once the browser opens. The user interface is also slightly clearer than TripIt’s. Traveas thus has a very good approach for accessing the mass market by integrating seamlessly into the existing travel booking process customers are already on the web. It also allows them to bill for the service a lot easier than would otherwise be possible on the web. Also, the simplicity of the mobile service is positive, it is really a must to disable every extra step in accessing the service in order to reach the real mass market users.

Traveas is so far only funded by the founders, and the firm is not actively looking for funding at the moment funded by the founders, including a Swedish IT Company Cypoint, and a few private investors. Traveas is currently praparing a SEK 3-5M (USD 0,4-0,6M; EUR  0.3-0,5M) financing round for May 2009.

(Press release (pdf))

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