I twittered about tripit
after using their service the other day but 140 characters wasn't quite enough for me to write out the reasons I like them. They're my favorite startup right now because they do a really great job of solving a particular pain that I have had.
is an online tool for managing your travel itineraries. You can forward them the email itineraries that you receive from airlines, hotels, priceline, etc. after you book travel online and tripit parses the email and emails you back (immediately) with a link to your itinerary on their site.
Good startups work because they give the people something they want, typically by solving some pain point for them. The time I really got into tripit was when I was booking a lot of flights to travel back and forth to San Francisco last fall. I was chasing cheap hotels with priceline, and booking the cheapest convenient flights I could find, which meant I was flying lots of different airlines and amassing a lot of confirmation emails. My gmail account threaded the emails so in order to look up an itinerary I had to dig through a couple emails in a single thread and check the arrival and departure dates to make sure I was looking at the correct email. It was a huge pain, and I started forwarding all of the emails to tripit. After doing I had a single place to go to where I could see all my flights and hotel stays and easily look up any information I needed, such as confirmation numbers and departure times, for any of them. Like any successful startup should, using tripit made my life better.
Once you've nailed the execution of the core promise of your app, like tripit has, there's a lot of opportunity around the margins to experiment with other features. This is often where a startup's revenue will come from, and at the least it's the thing that differentiates them in the marketplace and keeps users from switching to a similar service. In tripit's case, they offer a bunch of useful features, many of which are obvious (flight delay information, links to check in, ads for rental car packages) and some that aren't (a link to seatguru, for example, to give you advice on which seat on this particular model of plane has the most legroom).
They also show you some cool information like total number of days traveled and total miles traveled, and there's a world map on your dashboard showing previous trips as blue dots and upcoming trips as red dots. The net effect is that I enjoy using their service so much that I want to book more travel just to see my mileage increase and get more red dots on my map.
If you're using tripit and you know me, you can connect to me by inviting me at my gmail address.