travellers find the sheer volume of online booking tools to be overwhelming. So
this is the first in a month-long series that highlights a handful of
websites that will change the travel game in 2013. We’ll compare these start-ups
with established players and detail what improvements they’ll need to win
August 2012, GetGoing isn’t meant for travellers who have a particular getaway
in mind. Instead, the site suggests a few hotspots based on your personal
preferences – and your final destination is up to the site.
supplying your home airport and travel dates and identifying your preferred world
region, the site will suggest destinations that match your criteria, listing
them in order of the most affordable flight prices. Then, after you’ve chosen
your two top locations, entered your payment information and clicked “purchase”,
GetGoing reveals which destination you’re going to, by a virtual flip of a
live in Denver and are looking to fly in mid-April to Central or South America.
In a test search, GetGoing recommended a four-night escape to San Jose, Costa
Rica as the most compelling destination with the most affordable flights.
showed photos of San Jose and a brief rundown of popular local activities, such
as snorkelling and zip lining. It also listed the airfares for a few flight
itineraries, touting a lowest available fare of $464 a person, and gave users
the option to compare airfares for identical itineraries on better known travel
websites, such Expedia and Kayak. In this test, GetGoing’s fares were indeed
cheaper than rival sites.
says it negotiates with airlines to find the lowest priced tickets available,
often at up to 40% off the prices on airlines’ own websites. Yet tickets are
non-refundable, non-changeable and non-transferable – so you have to feel
confident you’ll be able to take the trip to either of your final destinations
before you commit.
name-your-own-price auction service at the US version of Priceline, GetGoing gives you the exact
times of your flight in advance. You can even filter the results to exclude
inconvenient flight times and limit layovers, though you will likely pay more
for your ticket as a result. But unlike the US version of Hotwire, this site won’t tell you which airline
you’re flying until you book.
In our test
example, the site also recommended dozens of other locales in Central America, such
as San Salvador, Panama City and Guatemala City. In general, when a user connects
their Facebook account, they can see if any of their friends have visited the
suggested locations, assuming that their friends have opted to publicly share
the geo-location data on their photos and the list of places they’ve checked into
via the social network.
Flaws that need fixing
leaves some things to be desired. For instance, it only works for trips
originating from US airports, though an international expansion is promised by
site’s claims of always having the lowest price, in our tests, it had an
imperfect record when it came to beating competitors’ prices, so you will still
have to shop around to feel assured you’re getting the best deal. However if
within 24 hours of booking you find a lower price for the same flight itinerary,
GetGoing will refund the difference.
another caveat. The site doesn’t sell accommodation, so a flyer risks picking a
destination where hotels are expensive – without anticipating that cost. But
the company will begin selling flight-plus-lodging packages “in the coming
months”, said Robb Henshaw, the vice president of communications.
Sean O’Neill is the travel tech columnist for BBC Travel