2 days ago, the TDM team and I organized PopOut’07: Emerging Web Startups which is the very first episode of a series of startup showcases to come! At PopOut, we got local web startups which we thought had rather interesting initiatives to strut their stuff and share their personal stories.
I won’t be writing about what happened as fellow TDM’er Angela live-blogged about it here along with a few other bloggers. Instead, I’m gonna write about what I thought of the companies who participated (both presenters and showcasers on the side booths), starting with Bezurk. If you want to read about what happened during the presentations, read here, here and here.
Bezurk – Travel Search Engine
I’ve never heard of Bezurk before PopOut but after Ross’ presentation (which left me quite clueless with all the technical jargon), I decided to check it out myself. All these while, I’ve been using STA Travel to get my cheap student tickets since its the brand name for students with tight budgets.
The very first thing I did was to search for the same trip on both STA Travel and Bezurk to compare prices. Yes, I’m a cheapo! What will keep me is the service that will give me the best price.
Trip: Singapore to Chicago
Bezurk’s Price: SGD1645 on Northwest Airlines
STA Travel’s Price: SGD 1670 on Turkish Airlines
Although the price difference wasn’t much, Ross is right. Bezurk’s concept of searching and returning results from all travel websites instead of just one database produces better results. Also personally, I’d go for Northwest over Turkish anytime. So test 1 has been passed!
Next came the interface which utilizes a lot of AJAX, reducing the amount of page loads and having results updated on-the-fly even when you’re still browsing a page to ensure you get the best and latest prices. In fact, their usage of AJAX is a huge advantage over other boring, static travel websites making it extremely navigatable and swift in returning results.
Apart from just flights, their search engine caters to hotels and tour packages as well. What I particularly like is how detailed their filtering system is. You can filter your results by pricing, airline, hotel star-rating & etc. My MOST favourite filtering of all is “Features the hotel MUST have” which of course for me was the broadband Internet access. Too bad they couldn’t take this filtering a step further to “FREE broadband access”.
As I’ll be going to Shanghai soon, I searched “Activities” for Shanghai and it returned a variety of tour packages offered by travel agencies within Shanghai itself which makes things a lot cheaper. Upon clicking the “Book Now” button, Bezurk redirects me to the travel agency’s booking page for that particular tour, saving me the effort of navigating the travel agency’s website. This is also a useful feature for people like me who CAN’T SPEAK Chinese and probably won’t be able to buy the right tour packages in Shanghai without help.
Bezurk really seems like the solution many travellers have been looking for. It saves the trouble of having to go through Google search results individually to find what you want (and the best deals of course). In fact, I would call Bezurk the “Google” of travelling. As mentioned before, the big plus point for me is the friendly and efficient user-interface.
The only additional feature I hope Bezurk would have is a comment/rating system of each travel agency associated with the hotel and travel packages. I don’t mean to be a prejudice but there are numerous stories going around on how Chinese businessmen cheat tourists, and hence I’d appreciate it if I could get a feel of which travel agencies are the more reliable ones from fellow travellers.
Other than that, I’d say “BYE BYE STA TRAVEL! You’re OBSOLETE!! “. Bezurk’s the new way to travel!
Side note: They’ve recently been named “31 of the world’s hottest startups” by Fortune Group Inc, putting Singapore on the web2.0 map! ^_~