Just when you thought that all last-minute online travel sites are pretty much the same, along comes a new piece of technology that puts one site leaps and bounds ahead of its competitors. Site59 has pulled off a travel search coup with the introduction of its new "Meet Me In" tool.
So what's so special about "Meet Me In?" This application (found at (www.site59.com), click "Two Departure Cities") understands that not all people who want to travel together actually live in the same city. How many times have you tried to coordinate travel plans with a friend, relative or significant other who lives half way across the country? You have to deal with scheduling problems, flights arriving at different times, not being able to take advantage of package deals because you don't technically meet the double occupancy rule etc. Well, say goodbye to these obstacles and experience the ease of last minute travel with far away friends without the headaches.
Meet me in is as simple as one, two, three -- one destination, two departures cities and you can meet up to three friends or travel companions.
The new search tool gives users the choice of either a traditional one departure city search, or a search that simultaneously looks for available discounted round-trip flights, hotels, and rental car options from two departure cities. Complete package pricing and details about your choices (airline, hotel name etc.) are provided up front.
A complex algorithm sifts through over 20,000 possible flight combinations to give the six best itineraries arranged side-by-side, based on price, travel time, coordinated arrival and departure times, and most importantly, time together. The suggested price breakdown for each traveler, includes taxes and fees, based on individual departure cities, so there are no hidden costs on these discounted packages.
There are so many travel scenarios where "Meet Me In" could be a perfect solution. Let's imagine you've just given birth to triplets in San Francisco and are in desperate need of a few extra pairs of hands. Fly in your two best friends from Detroit and Chicago for a couple of days to ease the load and share your joy. Your new skis need to be broken in, and your buddy in Toronto still thinks you can't handle a double black diamond run. Meet him in Tahoe and let him eat your powder. Your girlfriend just moved from New York to Baltimore, and you realize that you can't possibly live without her. Have her meet you in Vegas, arrange you license and give her the Elvis wedding of her dreams.
My personal favorite feature of "Meet Me In" is the "time together" calculation which is displayed in all itinerary options so you can see exactly how much time you will get to share with your travel buddy -- sometimes you want to maximize the time (i.e. with your long distance lover) so if you only have three days off for a weekend, it can be gratifying to know that you have three days, four hours and 35 minutes with that special someone. At other times you want to keep the time together at a bare minimum (okay, so you don't get on so well with your mother-in-law).
Although this concept sounds simple (and more importantly is really easy to navigate), the technology is innovative, highly complex and patent-pending, Site59 is the first and only company to offer this clever option. The "Meet Me In" tool will be featured exclusively on Site59.com until the end of the year and next year, Travelocity.com will utilize the technology on the Last Minute Packages section of its website.
If you're a traveler who likes to make your decisions at the spare of the moment, Site59 offers affordable last-minute weekend getaways (from 14 days up to three hours before departure) to 165 destinations across the U.S., Canada, the Caribbean, Europe and Latin America from 150+ North American cities. With real-time inventory from over 4,000 suppliers worldwide, Site59 last-minute getaways combine flight and hotel (with optional car), flight and car, and hotel and car options, and can also include travel extras and editor-recommended destination highlights so that travelers can make the most of their weekend getaway.
Visit www.site59.com/meetmein for more details.
What's your opinion of Site59's new feature? Is it something you will use? Give us your feedback on our Online Reservations Message Boards today.