Ditching the Manila Folder

Media Morph: TripIt

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Every week Ad Age Digital's Media Morph looks at how emerging technology is changing the way consumers get their information and media companies and advertisers present their messages. This week: TripIt.

WHAT IT IS: TripIt calls itself a personal travel organizer. And considering how many people use myriad online and offline travel services to book various bits of a trip, resulting in separate e-mail confirmations, TripIt's ability to store, organize and share trip details can be valuable. For one reporter's trip to California, TripIt is storing all flight, hotel and car-rental information, along with notes about where to be when, restaurant reservations and winery tours. The information can be accessed via the mobile web or e-mail. Should the trip involve a place without internet access, it can be printed out.

MOST USEFUL FEATURE: TripIt indexes information directly from confirmation e-mails. Simply forward them to [email protected] All the flight, hotel and rental-car information included in those e-mails is automatically entered into your traveler profile in chronological order, creating the easiest schedule you've ever put together. The feature works with confirmations from many top travel sites, hotel and airline sites, and aggregator or travel-search sites.

Another tool, TripClipper, lets you snag notes on destinations while doing online research. For voracious researchers, this takes the place of cutting and pasting all of that online research into a Word document.

NEEDS IMPROVEMENT: Manually inputting trip information can be a bit clumsy. One big complaint: all the separate boxes for street address, city and state. If TripIt can discern these various elements automatically from an e-mail confirmation, why do users have to enter them separately? Additionally, TripIt needs to more quickly make its services available on Facebook and other social sharing tools.

THE BUSINESS MODEL: Not surprisingly, it's advertising -- both contextual links and sponsorships. And TripIt hopes to introduce premium features in the future.
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