Gliider Makes Makes Trip Planning A Breeze

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At Launch Silicon Valley this past week, I saw a demo of Gliider, a Firefox plug-in and tool that allows you to drag and drop travel information you collect from around the web. The video explains the concept behind Gliider, which is still in private beta, fairly well. While the travel 2.0 space is nearly saturated with a plethora of competitive products, Gliider’s tool is incredibly useful and its focus is narrow (Gliider only wants to help users with planning), which could make it standout in the crowd.

After you download the plug-in, you can pop-out the Gliider trip planner box from your browser when you need it. Within the planner box, you can create a trip, specify where you are traveling to (Gliider’s search box offers auto suggestions), and when you plan to go. Gliider will automatically create folders for each type of information, including flights, hotels, shopping, transport and food. You can also create customized folders.

When you come across useful travel info, like hotel, restaurant, or flight listings, you can highlight the text and images and simply drag and drop the info into the box. Once the item is in the organizer, you can make insert comments to each item. It replaces bookmarking for travel and automatically organizes links, sites, and listings for you. Once you’ve finished the planning process of a trip, Gliider will email you all your details in a PDF file. The startup will also be rolling out a iPhone app that will let you view your planned trips.

Gliider’s proprietary technology will read where and when you will be traveling and provide customized hotel deals for you. And Gliider will also track hotel deals, letting you know when a price goes up or down. The tool doesn’t yet do the same for flights, which would also be a useful item to track. Gliider will soon have a “ask around” feature, which via Facebook Connect, will let you solicit advice on a trip or listing from your Facebook friends.

Gliider mainly makes money from affiliate fees—when they suggest deals (they have a partnership with Expedia) and a user clicks to the deal and books, Gliider will get a cut from the purchase. The startup’s CEO and co-founder Jordan Stopler, declined to say how much they receive in these deals but also added that the startup will be offering deals on flights as well in the future. Gliider will also be adding functionality for IE8 soon.

The most obvious and serious competitor to Gliider in this space is TripIt, a popular travel site (and one that Mike can’t live without) that lets you generate an itinerary by simply forwarding the service your email confirmations from hotels and airlines. NileGuide also is similar in function. But the beauty of Gliider is that it’s solely focused on planning a trip and not on creating a step by step itinerary for travelers. And the fact that Gliider is a plug-in makes it easy to access and integrate with the browser experience.

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