Review of TripIt Pro

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

TripIt Logotype

The Good

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 reservations

The Bad

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 (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.

The Ugly

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.

This work by Fredrik Wendt is licensed under CC by-sa.