The European Commission has asked for comments as it tries to settle a series of antitrust cases surrounding the hotel-booking website Booking.com. The Dutch company, owned by U.S.-based [company]Priceline[/company], is being investigated by competition authorities in France, Sweden and Italy over its price parity clauses. Currently, Booking.com forces hotels that it lists to offer the platform’s customers the same room prices (or better) as they offer anywhere else, online or offline. The company has proposed allowing the hotels to offer better prices through other online travel agents, though they still wouldn’t be able to offer better prices through other channels. The Commission, which is coordinating the national investigations, is “market testing” these commitments until the end of January.
Reserves sees itself as the champion for the restaurant industry, bringing back their profits by levying reservation costs on diners instead. But with that premise, will customers want to use it?
Russia’s leading search provider has introduced a new feature that lets webmasters embed interactive functionality – think hotel booking or flight check-ins – directly into their search results listings.
Berlin-based GoEuro has just closed a $4 million seed round with impressive backers. Like its neighbour Waymate, the firm wants to make it simpler and clearer to book a multimodal journey. That’s no easy task.
Spain’s Blink Booking offers last-minute hotel reservations, so it’s only appropriate that one of the several high-profile names in its funding round is that of Lastminute.com co-founder Brent Hoberman
You need to schedule back-to-back demos with different tech companies. Or you want to hold “virtual office hours” for lead generation and effortlessly book them based on your actual availabilities each week. You don’t have a personal assistant. So what do you do?
First, TimeDriver connects with either your Microsoft Outlook or Google Calendar. For those of you using iCal (like me), you can sync your iCal with Google Calendar using SpanningSync to take advantage of this personal appointment scheduling system. The company says they still plan on supporting Salesforce and Lotus Notes in the near future but they are adding the most popular calendaring programs first.
Next, you use TimeDriver’s calendaring page to indicate blocks of time when you’d like to schedule appointments by dragging from the start to the end time. The system syncs up with your overall calendar and immediately blacks out times where you already have something else scheduled and will continue to do so as you add any additional events or appointments to your personal calendar.
Then you can generate a link that you can share with others to schedule their appointments with you. So if you are working on scheduling back-to-back demos with tech companies, the system will email individual messages to each company rep with an embedded button that brings each person to their own private page with your invitation.
From there, they can click over to view open dates and times for scheduling a demo with you, add any notes, and submit the information into the system. The date and time they choose is automatically removed from the availablitilites that others will see.
If you are soliciting leads on your web site or even your LinkedIn page and are offering to speak with people for a free assessment of their needs with the hopes of landing some new clients, you can embed the scheduling link on your Web site. When people click on it, they are led to the TimeDriver system to schedule a phoner with you.
In a nutshell, the process for setting up TimeDriver is:
1. Name your event.
2. Choose whether it will be by phone or a face-to-face meeting.
3. Pick a duration for the event.
4. Compose your invitation message (photo or logo optional). You can even add a qualifying question to get information in advance.
5. Pick your windows of availability.
6. Get scheduling link or send out emails for the activity you’ve set up.
What TimeDriver does not do is coordinate scheduling for multiple people. The company feels there are enough players in that area.
The TimeDriver system does track all recipients of the emails you send including who has responded, who has looked at your invitation but hasn’t responded and who hasn’t looked at all. You can trigger a followup message to those who haven’t yet confirmed a date and time. The system also accounts for each person’s time zone based on their machine settings.
Currently in Alpha is an integrated Outlook add-on that inserts a scheduling link into emails composed through the program.
Personally, I can see using TimeDriver for:
1. Letting people schedule 1/2 hour free consultations with me via my LinkedIn page and web site to cultivate new clients.
2. Scheduling check-in calls with clients in clusters so I can be more efficient about direct contact with them to supplement the more-typical daily emails.
3. Booking more Web app demos with tech companies in neat blocks of time so I can be incredibly productive.
You can pre-register for TimeDriver’s open beta at their site. Doors open on August 25th. The basic TimeDriver service is free.
The folks behind financial web show Wallstrip — who cracked the nut of online video if only because they got CBS to buy them for $4 million — are launching a new show on Friday. Moblogic is a show about popular opinion. Host Lindsay Campbell (who’s been replaced at Wallstrip by Julie Alexandria) will take a particular news story to the street each day and ask people what they think about it.
Rather than the highly scripted Wallstrip, “This show is about the immediacy,” said co-creator Adam Elend, speaking from a car whose passengers included Campbell, co-creator Jeff Marks, and the show’s two producers, all en route to catch a plane bound for the South by Southwest festival in Austin.
People called us crazy when we announced we were giving away an unlocked Dash, OK they call us crazy anyway, but even so the contest was a smashing success with over 150 entries! Kevin’s kids have rolled the old "pick a winner" dice and the winner of the Dash is none other than Tom Hodgers! All Tom needs to do is send me an email by clicking on my cartoon head in the right sidebar and providing me with his email address and physical address for shipping. Congratulations, Tom!