TripIt is one of those great services that actually manages to make life easier — just submit your travel confirmation Emails, and the site generates a comprehensive itinerary. It’s made Michael’s list of products he can’t live without for two years running, and is quickly gaining fans among frequent travelers. That’s all well and good, but until now the service hasn’t really had much of a revenue model beyond advertising. Today, that changes: the company is launching TripIt Pro, a collection of premium features that is sure to appeal to a wide range of road warriors.
The first major feature offered by TripIt Pro is enhanced flight monitoring. TripIt will keep tabs on any delays, cancellations, and gate changes for every flight in your itinerary, and send you an SMS message to alert you as soon as there’s a change (you can also choose to receive reminders for check-in 24 hours before your flight). TripIt co-founder Scott Hintz ackowledges that some airlines offer similar notification services, but says that you have to set these up for every carrier you fly on. With TripIt, you only have to sign up once for it to work across all airlines.
The service can also recognize when a delayed flight you’re on may cause you to miss a connecting flight, and alerts you to any alternative flights leaving from the same airport (TripIt also knows how many seats are available on each flight, so it won’t suggest any full ones). Of course, you’ll have to still go through your airline’s booking agent and ask to be placed on one of these flights, but Hintz says that generally if you can ask for a specific flight with available seats, these agents are more likely to help you out.
Another new feature is the ‘Inner Circle’, which streamlines the service’s sharing functionality. Before now you’ve been able to share an itinerary with friends, but there hasn’t been a way to designate someone as a permanent buddy who can always see your plans (Hintz says users often wind up having to re-share plans with spouses and close friends for every trip they take). With Inner Circle, you’ll be able to grant permanent access to a select group of friends.
Finally, TripIt is adding a new point tracking service for your frequent traveller points. The service keeps tabs on airlines, hotels, and some car companies, presenting your points in a single interface. TripIt isn’t the first service to do this, but Hintz says it’s been one of the site’s top three most requested features.
TripIt Pro is going to cost $99 per year, but the site is offering a special introductory rate of $49/year for anyone who signs up by July 31st. And if you sign up at the cheaper rate, the site will offer the cheaper $49/year renewals for life. Frequent travelers are always looking for a way to take the burden out of flying, and now that they’ll no longer be able to pay $199 to skip airport security lines, this might prove a good alternative for reducing those headaches.