More than a virtual vacation

Israeli start-ups have developed websites that can help you get the best vacation deal.

cyber attack 311 R (photo credit: REUTERS)
cyber attack 311 R
(photo credit: REUTERS)
For years, the Internet has been a great place to look for the perfect vacation deal as well as offering coupons for restaurants and entertainment venues at the planned destination. Gulliver is one example.
Five new Israeli start-ups have entered the market, offering supplementary foreign vacation services, including a social network for backpackers and businesspeople, frequentflyer- points management and easy-to-use vacation planners.
Plnnr: for destination day-trip plans
Plnnr, cofounded by CEO Mosi Shuchman and CTO Imri Goldberg, tries to take the hassle out of vacation planning by offering a personalized trip planner, saving time looking at online sites.

After signing up, Plnnr users select their destination from a list of 20 large cities, the travel dates and type of vacation (with children, nature, popular sites or arts and culture). The user then selects the quality of the hotel and the intensity of the vacation – relaxed, light, moderate, energetic or extreme – to get in as much as possible.
After the characterizations are inserted, Plnnr offers a daily schedule that takes into account the opening hours of sites, such as museums and attractions, and provides a map with routes by foot or public transportation.
The schedule can be amended by recommended sites and the time planned to spent at each one.
Superfly: for the frequent flyer
Superfly helps subscribers monitor their accumulated frequent-flyer miles from creditcard deals and airlines. Using frequent-flyer miles could easily make it possible to upgrade to business class for a weekend deal in Europe. However, 20 trillion frequent-flyer points worth $500 billion to $800b. are lost annually through nonuse.
Superfly cofounders Yonatan Meiri and Zvika Cohen are trying to exploit this potential through the efficient management of frequent- flyer miles and pick the best airline to use. The system also manages points accumulated by car-rental clubs and hotel chains.
Superfly already manages more than 300 million miles. To use the service, first register, select the airline, insert your account details and review the analysis of activity: how many points are still needed for an upgrade, a bonus ticket and which airline it pays to fly with.
Gogobot: for vacations recommended by Facebook
Gogobot is a social-network platform cofounded by American CEO Travis Katz and Israeli CTO Ori Zaltzman to avoid the aggravation of the long and hard search for the best hotel, tastiest restaurant and most exciting attraction at a destination. The user can share with friends routes, restaurants and hotels at destinations around the world.
Registration is either directly on the site or via Facebook and read and write recommendations and share them with like-minded friends. It is possible to obtain critiques of restaurants, hotels and attractions and ask other Gogobot users for recommendations about where to go and what do on your vacation.
YooGuide: for the spontaneous day trip
The concept behind YooGuide, cofounded by Shirley Cohen-Mintz, Yonit Kariri and Eran Lobl, targets local travelers who want to spend as much time as possible at their destination, taking day trips to local sites. YooGuide’s urban trip planner offers personalized recommendations for restaurants, exhibits, shows and other events for what it calls “Funday.” It mainly targets the spontaneous traveler, offering activities for an unexpectedly free evening.
It is also possible to plan a Funday by style (tourist, with children, culture or something else entirely), and it provides directions to the site chosen.
YooGuide is currently operating in private beta mode. It is possible register via e-mail to join a trial group to test the site. The site will open for general use within a few weeks. Its first destination is New York.
IMGuest: for businesspeople to meet
IMGuest, cofounded by Yossi Mendelovitch and Assaf Engel, targets businesspeople rather than the tourists. It is basically a social network for the business traveler who seeks to network when at a hotel to avoid missing business opportunities while on the run.
The user can check in at the hotel and find who else is there. If a possible contact is found, who can expand the user’s circle of business friends, it is possible to make contact via the website for a meeting in the lobby. In this way, a work trip can be utilized for business deals on site.
Each IMGuest user has a personal profile that includes his or her area of business, workplace, education and fields of interest. It is possible to register via LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.