In what is likely to be a boon to long-distance romances in the U.S., Site59.com has launched "Meet Me In. . .," a tool that assembles discounted last-minute weekend packages from two departure points to a single destination.
A traveler departing New York and another departing from Los Angeles can purchase a single package with hotel and flights in Miami, for example.
In what is likely to be a boon to long-distance romances in the U.S., Site59.com has launched "Meet Me In. . .," a tool that assembles discounted last-minute weekend packages from two departure points to a single destination. A traveler departing New York and another departing from Los Angeles can purchase a single package with hotel and flights in Miami, for example. Jeff Varhol, the new general manager of Site59, said the patent-pending algorithm of Meet Me In takes into consideration such factors as the coordination of flight arrival and departure times and the maximization of the travelers' time together. The search algorithm comes up with the six best flight combinations based on those criteria and shows the exact time together that each combination provides. If the itineraries don't work for the travelers, they can see all possible flight combinations. The results can be sorted by airline, departure time, arrival time, travel time or price. The technology is not limited to couples: Up to four travelers from two departure points, in combinations of two-plus-two, three-plus-one or one-plus-two, can use Meet Me In, and up to two rooms can be booked. Varhol said that capability opens up a wide range of scenarios for its use by far-flung families and friends: Two former college roommates getting together for a big game; three sisters flying to the home of a fourth who has just had a baby; four siblings surprising their parents on their anniversary, or two couples meeting in the mountains for a ski weekend. Meet Me In was developed by Sabre Labs, part of Site59's parent company, Sabre Holdings Corp. Over an 18-month period, Sabre Labs explored a variety of ways to create a group package from multiple destinations and to apply the technology across Sabre, Travelocity and Site59. "It's very complex technology," Varhol said. "From a development perspective, we had to look at how consumers would use it and then to make it simple for them." Planning a trip from multiple destinations is complicated, he said, so "there was a lot of focus on making it as easy as possible." Sabre looked at the possibility of allowing the use of multiple credit cards to pay for the package but shelved that idea for the time being because "it provided too many opportunities for errors," Varhol said. "But that's on the list of things that we'll be watching," he added. Site59 does provide a "suggested price breakdown," including taxes and fees, for couples or groups who don't want to divide expenses equally. For example, if three travelers from St. Louis meet one traveler from New York in Naples, Fla., each St. Louis traveler would owe $273 and the New Yorker would owe $251. Meet Me In will be featured exclusively on Site59.com through the end of the year. The first expansion of its distribution reach will be on Travelocity's Last Minute Packages area. Beginning next year, Site59 also plans to make the technology available to companies that use private-label versions of its last-minute packaging.