How the travel industry can make the most of Facebook Send

April 28th, 2011

Note: This also appeared on Tnooz

Celebrating its triumphant first year, the Facebook Like button has been integrated across more than 2.5 million sites.

While email is still the largest and most personal social network (albeit fragmented and disorganized), the Facebook Send button might just disrupt that space.

There is this uncanny ability Facebook has in getting us to click a button which then becomes ubiquitous across the web. With this week’s unveiling of the Send button, you can now share content with whomever you choose on Facebook and/or through email.

Facebook changed the paradigm for casual connections, because you could vet someone before you ever exchanged your email address or nervously traded phone numbers.

In its early days, your Facebook profile and connections had a degree of intimacy. However, as time has gone on, Facebook connections have become too casual.

Perhaps some people are better than others in limiting their Facebook friends, but the problem is apparent enough that there are startups trying to make more personal social networks.

I believe Facebook may be on the verge of solving this issue themselves, and they are starting it off right with the Send button.

orbitz SEND facebook

Adoption in travel

I was smiling ear-to-ear when I saw the use-case of the Send button as a travel scenario: an Orbitz user was sending details about a hotel to a couple of his roommates for a possible summer trip.

I’ve tested this feature numerous times now, and it has to be the least friction I’ve ever encountered in sharing hotel information.

So here is what I hope to see from travel sites in adopting the Send button:

  • Review sites such as TripAdvisor or Yelp integrate it so users and their friends can exchange information while narrowing the field of choices.
  • Activity and tour sites like Viator and Trafalgar need the button so friends can discuss what they should do while on their trip.
  • Flash sales sites like Jetsetter or LivingSocial Escapes integrate it so that a user can send their deals to the specific friends with whom they wish to go on the trip.
  • OTAs and metasearchers like Expedia, Orbitz or Kayak need not only to allow for sharing of particular information, but also the prices that were presented based on the search parameters (obviously, it is ok to have a disclaimer saying the prices can change).
  • Airline, hotel, and car companies need this implementation immediately so loyal customers share directly from their sites.
  • Travel news and content sites should freely put the button everywhere so that users can share their great content quickly.

As an entrepreneur in the social travel space, it is humbling to see that Facebook validates what we at Bonvoy have already have been doing in the travel space.

They are assisting groups of friends on collaboration around any topic, whereas we have been facilitating travel collaboration and planning for groups of friends within Facebook as an app. Travel is not only a social experience, but an intimate one as well.

We can expect Facebook to continue to iterate, thereby giving users the option to be selective with their social graph. It will be interesting to see how travel sites use the Send button, I can envision friends kicking off trip planning or estimating costs.

I believe the mission of most travel sites is to make travelers’ experiences better. I hope that the Send button can aid in that process, and it enjoys a lot of success.

Amadeus Interview Judges- “Ideas for Travel”

May 14th, 2011

With only a few days left in the competition, Amadeus is introducing some of the judges.  Here is the link to my interview, http://amadeusblog.com/13/05/meet-the-ideas-for-travel-judges-mujteba-naqvi-ceo-bonvoy/

Great Ideas Deserve Recognition

March 19th, 2011

Amadeus is setting itself apart this time by holding a contest that wants anyone to give ideas that can make the travel industry “Brighter, Bolder, Better” The prize is 20,000 EURO and anyone with any idea can enter the contest, http://www.ideasfortravel.amadeus.com

Don’t miss out on this chance!

Full Disclosure: I was selected as one the judges and am very interested to see how many great ideas are born.

FREE FLIGHTS for SXSW and Spring Break

February 17th, 2011

On the heels of being featured in USA Today, we are launching a promo for SXSW and Spring Break.  We are giving away two free flights to the persons who refer the most people to Bonvoy.  You can check out here, http://www.facebook.com/bonvoy?sk=app_10442206389

This is great way to tell folks about our awesome service that makes group travel suck less all the while having an opportunity to win a free flight!

Current Referral Leaderboard

Please see Official Rules for entry requirements.

Official Rules | Prizes | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Book Now

This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook or SXSW Inc. You are providing your information to Bonvoy and not to Facebook or SWSW Inc. The information you provide will only be used in accordance with Bonvoy’s Privacy Policy.

UPDATE 02/26/2011:
We have two leaders right now in the contest, Mohamed E. and Reed P. It’s still anyone’s contest to win as they have 11 and 7 referrals respectively (http://bit.ly/flightcontestleaders )

Contest ends Midnight (EST) tomorrow

Click here to enter —> http://www.facebook.com/bonvoy?v=app_10442206389

If you have already entered encourage your friends to click on your Bonvoy wall posting so you can get referral credit.

Good Luck!

UPDATE 03/07/2010:

We want to thank you all for participating in our contest. Our two winners are Adrian F. and Ephim G.

Adrian and Ephim are students at the Miami Ad School, a private school for art directors, copywriters, and graphic designers with the headquarters in Miami.

They are using the free flights to attend SXSW in Austin, Texas. Adrian and Ephim worked really hard to not only spread the word about Bonvoy to their friends and how it makes group travel a breeze, but also told their classmates at the Miami Ad School.

Congratulations to Adrian and Ephim and we wish them a good time at SXSW! We hope they will give us an update of the festivities.

P.S. Watch out for other promotions like this in the near future!

TripIt Acquired

January 23rd, 2011

Well a hearty congrats to the TripIt team on being acquired by Concur.  This is a big deal for startups in the online travel space because it proves to investors that larger companies want great travel startups part of their portfolios.  TripIt is an awesome app the really lets business travelers get a handle on their travel itineraries.  There have been other travel startups, which also went after this space, but TripIt really had a leg up in funding and talent.  I think they were smart to realize that mobile needed to be a focus.   The TripIt API is great and really fosters an ecosystem for travel developers whereas the GDS’ should have been the ones to do so.

I think this makes us here at Bonvoy appreciate and thank Amadeus for being one of the GDS’ that are becoming open to entrepreneurs.   Being like a “TripIt for Groups”  we hope we enjoy the same type of success in the future.

Happy Holidays from Bonvoy

December 23rd, 2010

Happy Holidays

We’ve been growing leaps and bounds, all thanks to good people like you. In our first three months nearly 1000 trips are being planned.

We’re listening to users like yourself wanting more features like cruise and activities options along with a Bonvoy mobile application. In the New Year we’ll be looking to make Bonvoy even better! We’ll continue to make group travel a breeze!

Help us out by answering a short survey, http://bit.ly/bonvoysurvey (Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card)

In the spirit of the Holidays we hope you would take some time to consider donating some frequent flier miles to a worthy cause like the Make-A-Wish Foundation, http://www.wish.org/help/donate_airline_miles

On behalf of the Bonvoy Team we wish you a great Holiday Season and a Happy New Year!

Travel Innovation Summit ROCKED!!!

November 19th, 2010

Whew! What a great event.  Kudus to the folks at PhocusWright for putting on a stellar conference and showcase.

Well, I got on stage later on in the day when people were probably getting a little sleepy ~5:30.  I decided to bring some of my passion to the stage and wake everyone up!  I walked to center stage to present Bonvoy with a fervor.  It felt great to be in front of an audience of 1000+ travel influencers.  I got them to “ooh” at a certain point and also got a hearty laugh out of them (see video 7:08 mark).   The judges appreciated our batch of presenters as we brought energy at the end of day (included awesome fellow startups HipMunk and Gogobot).  Below is the video clip of my presentation of Bonvoy.

Travel Innovators

October 30th, 2010

Bonvoy was selected as a  “Travel Innovator” as part of PhocusWrights Travel Innovation Summit. It is a great honor and we will be presenting alongside some awesome travel companies. This year’s theme is “Chaos Call” and soon enough the travel industry will be disrupted.

The Last Couple Weeks

October 12th, 2010

Well it’s been a couple weeks since we launched and we’re getting some good traction.  We have been attending various events and promoting Bonvoy.  The HackerDojo community has been great and that place is amazing resource to startups.

I recently went to a meetup called “IdeaKick.” The premise is to pitch any burning idea to the group of people attending.  I decided to gauge reception of a feature called “SettleUp” where group travelers can do post-trip expense reconciliation.  Check out the video below:

We’ve been fortunate to get some intro’s to some VC’s and Angels. While our main focus is trying to get users and learn from them, it will be good to talk to some folks about our future fiscal needs as we scale.

WE LAUNCHED BONVOY

September 23rd, 2010

The team and I have been heads downs working to get Bonvoy out.  Many people doubted whether we could actually put a booking engine in facebook.  We’ve done it!!!  A social booking engine that lets you plan, book, and EVEN split up costs on a group trip.

I was frustrated with the hassles of participating in group trips because it meant having to deal with chain emails, scheduling disasters, searching for travel deals, and trying to split up costs.  The process was a nightmare, so I thought to build a familiar feeling and easily accessible Facebook application that makes group travel painless.

The app can be searched for in the Facebook Application directory or directly installed via, http://apps.facebook.com/bonvoyapp (make sure you login into Facebook first)

My goal always has been to make this app a way for people to just enjoy the trip.  We usually get embroiled in the logistics so traveling with friends on group trips becomes weary.  I think people actually “flake-out” because of all the drama associated with group trip planning.  Traveling together with family or friends is supposed to make those relationships stronger.  I hope with Bonvoy the process is so hassle-free that it gets more people to travel with one another.

I can thank many people but I will start off with a few:

I thank my family who has been patient with my obsessive nature to get this out.  It’s been a wild roller coaster of emotions for me but they stayed on the ride with me.

I thank my friends who know me well enough to know that I would get this done!

I thank those who advised me and turned this guy into some what of an expert in social travel space.

I thank the good people at Amadeus for listening to a pitch and thinking, “why the hell not” give this guy a shot to build something no one has done before.

I thank those who invested in Bonvoy not because of the potential of the business but also this guy’s vision.

If I have left anyone out please don’t take it personal.  I am thankful for every person that I met who has even given me even a minute amount of confidence, praise, or constructive feedback.

Thanks,

-Mujteba