I don’t travel much, but enough to know the pain of having to keep track of:
- which train/flight do I need to catch?
- which hotel did I make my reservation at?
TripIt is a service that aims to really fix this for its’ users. It does so by:
- scanning your e-mail
- combining reservations (hotel, car rental, flights, …) into one single, unitified and glorious itinerary per trip
- providing some other automated services in case of a missed flight etc
They really understand the problem frequent travelers experience. So their solution is pretty accurate, although very US centered.
- perfectly picked up my KLM flight reservation
- perfectly picked up one of my Hotels.com reservations
In a response to my support e-mail, I learned that in general they “optimize English language”, which to me honestly just sounds like a poor way of saying “if not English, sorry, don’t care”.
- failed to pickup my two BA confirmation e-mails
- didn’t accept my Business MasterCard (which all other services I’ve tried accepts …)
didn’t succeed with all my reservations made through Hotels.com (only the one in the Netherlands, two in London failed)
- Don’t scan for new e-mail often enough
- Why only scan the inbox? That’s not really compatible with any type of person that works with “zero inbox”, or any type of archiving scheme. I imaging people with attention to sorting schemes to be common in the frequent flyers group, hence TripIt’s main customer group
- Didn’t notify me of the e-mails it failed to parse, although all reservations world-wide are sent from the same e-mail address. I would expect this to happen automatically.
None that I know of. For sure, you give them access to your full e-mail account for best service (or you forward e-mails to them).
Request And Bottomline
Am I just complaining? I think not: I made 6 reservations for three trips, out of which:
- 1 was automatically picked up and correctly parsed
- 1 was forwarded (manually) and parsed correctly
- 4 was not picked up, and none of them were correctly parsed when forwarded
If I ran TripIt, what would I do?
- I would start looking at sender addresses to determine if “this is something we should (be able to) parse”, not only subject lines
- I would enable a “scan my e-mail now” button, at least for Pro users
- I would look into subscribing to the stream of e-mails, instead of scanning mail accounts every now and then
- I would be open about how often we scan those who connect e-mail accounts
- I would open source the parsing of e-mail so that techies (like myself) could contribute and expand my business without us having to do all the work (a pull-request, in order to be accepted, would need to include: an reference example (real) e-mail; an automated test case; production code that does the parsing)
- I would hire a UI person to update the UI to look like it was designed after release 1.0 of jQuery UI
- I would openly list the services we support, and our backlog of services yet to be supported
- I would remove the ads for Pro users
For now, I’ll look for another service.