If you’re a regular reader of this site, you already know Cheapflights is an easy way to search for flight deals and travel information online. The company been an underwriter since we’ve had underwriters, which is a very long time. But what you might not know is that tomorrow, Cheapflights will release several new features that you’ll want to check out. I asked Chris Cuddy, Cheapflights’ chief executive, to talk about the upgrade.
A lot of my site’s readers are very familiar with Cheapflights, because you’ve been a long-time underwriter. But for those of us who are new to the site, can you briefly explain what Cheapflights does?
Cheapflights is a travel deals publisher and search site. Through our direct relationships with airlines and online travel agencies, we publish over 4 million deals a day around the world. Our users can search for flights or flights and hotels in a number of different ways.
We offer deals search. If you are flexible on dates, this is a great way to compare prices and see when you can fly for less. We also offer a date search, which lets you plug in the dates and check out the offering from our various partners who have inventory that match.
There’s also a new ‘Be Inspired’ search, which is where we help people brain storm about fun new places they could travel paired with concrete deals that will get them on their way.
Plus, we have staff-picked deals, where our travel experts select sales and promotions where, if you act fast, you can save, and a newsletter, where subscribers can tell us where they fly from most often and the kind of trips they like and get regular emails with deals tailored to their travel preferences.
What’s the best way to use Cheapflights? Should air travelers use it in conjunction with an online agency and traditional agent, or is it meant to be a one-stop?
Cheapflights was the world’s starting point for travel for over 100 million visitors last year. Travelers see that Cheapflights works directly with more airlines and travel partners than any other flights website on the planet.
Our technology does the legwork for you by gathering millions of airfares from hundreds of flights partners every day. In addition, our editorial travel experts publish guides to airports and airlines, and pen travel tips, and blog posts on deals, destinations and trends.
A lot of travel companies make money by selling airline tickets. What’s the Cheapflights model?
Cheapflights is a media company. We have spent the last 15 years developing great relationships with airlines and online travel companies that work with us as advertising partners. We are able to share their deal inventory with our users and then pass the travelers who are interested in these deals over to their sites. Our revenue comes from sending highly qualified traffic to our partners.
You’re about to make a few big announcements. Can you tell me a little more about what happens when you click on the new ‘Be Inspired’ tab?
The ‘Be Inspired’ tab opens up our new ideas or inspiration search window. Here, a user need only tell us their departure point and we can start giving them ideas for where they can go in the world.
By adding in details like timeframe — 30, 60 or 90 days — a type of trip, like beach or adventure, we can make even more recommendations. We then let you filter further by budget, continent and even average temperature.
In just a few simple clicks, a would-be traveler from Boston with a budget of $700 is suddenly choosing among ski outings in Jackson Hole, Calgary and Switzerland, all with available flights within their budget.
You’re also adding a new mobile site. Can you tell me what readers should expect?
The mobile site is an extension of the Cheapflights.com site but optimized for smart phones. It offers a streamlined and easy to navigate version of travel search and content. Tens of thousands of users come to our sites by mobile device already and this will give them a better experience and more direct access to our vast deals inventory.
You’ll also have different ways of searching for flights. What are the various ways you can search for flights now?
On the mobile site, we have our very popular deals search where users simply provide their desired departure and arrival cities or airports. We give a short list of top deals with the ability to book right there on the spot or to email, tweet or post to Facebook.
We also have a mobile version of our new inspiration search. We like to think of this search as a variation of a conversation about travel. Planning a fun trip starts with the wide open question “where can I go”? We answer that for you, letting you factor in budget, trip type and location as you see fit.
And there’s new feature called ‘My Suitcase.’ How does that help you become a better traveler?
‘My Suitcase’ is really a trip planning and preparation tool. Our travel experts have built out packing and to-do lists that will get you started preparing for any trip. We also give you the basic details about your destination, from where to eat to what to see. You can add your own items as well and email yourself a custom travel plan for your big trip.
You have an excellent travel news blog — and I have to say, some of the most creative headline-writers. How does the blog fit in with everything?
Cheapflights is the consumer’s champion. Our blog is where we have fun and showcase the experience and expertise of our team.
We want our users to know we are really passionate about travel and are plugged into what’s happening, be it with airport security and airline strikes or wine destinations and golf getaways. It’s also a great platform for communicating quickly so we use it to share deal information, react to industry news and engage our users in conversation.