Feedback for Farecompare

Old Jun 4, 08, 2:43 pm
  #1  
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Feedback for Farecompare

In response to a number of threads in the last few months, I'd like to make
an official request for feedback on Farecompare from the members of flyertalk.

We have our reasons for changing the site (revenue being one of them, conversion rates being another) but as we've tried to address the mainstream we've moved away for our power users.

Obviously we'd like to address both types of user.

We've been working on a new version of the flyertalk page but before development proceeds any further it would seem to be prudent to ask the users what they want.

We want to add in new functionality: namely you can choose up to 3 cities as departure points including no departure point at all (ie give me the best PPM fares across the whole farecompare db)

We also want to add in new client side filtering - but if people are dead against the use of javascript on the client - we can scrap that - or maybe make 2 versions of the page.

On the rest of the site, I'm all for having a poweruser fare listing tool -
if you guys want to spec that out ? We are still subscribing to
the ATPCO domestic and international fare/rule feeds and have added
the full rule text feed feed and the routing map too.

We still dont have a source of inventory info - so fares shown wont be guaranteed available and we wont have an idea that they are sold out.
That'll still be your job to check on ITA or KVS etc.


Graeme Wallace
CTO
FareCompare.com
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Old Jun 4, 08, 3:11 pm
  #2  
 
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I'll be the first (and hopefully not the last) to say ^ and thanks for proactively soliciting feedback on the 'poweruser' side of farecompare. As someone who has sent in a number of suggestions over the past year (only to see much of the site move in the opposite direction), I welcome the opportunity to help improve this (understandably) minor portion of the site.

I'll hold off on concrete suggestions until I can come with up with concise, thought out list, but I hope everyone takes you up on the offer.
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Old Jun 4, 08, 5:35 pm
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Thank you for asking for ideas before you make changes. I really appreciate the chance to have input heard. I'll make notes as I use FareCompare over the next week.
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Old Jun 4, 08, 10:17 pm
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Originally Posted by gwwallace View Post
...We still dont have a source of inventory info - so fares shown wont be guaranteed available and we wont have an idea that they are sold out.
That'll still be your job to check on ITA or KVS etc...
In that case why would we bother with farecompare? This was precisely the reason why I had abandoned it.
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Old Jun 4, 08, 10:26 pm
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I second that. So many of the listed fares are unbookable that I have pretty much given up on FC. Nice theory, not so good in practice.
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Old Jun 4, 08, 10:30 pm
  #6  
 
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If you are going to have a "power-user fare listing tool", please make sure that it includes the supplemental fuel surcharges.
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Old Jun 4, 08, 11:02 pm
  #7  
 
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Originally Posted by Riot_Nrrrd View Post
If you are going to have a "power-user fare listing tool", please make sure that it includes the supplemental fuel surcharges.
Yes international fares are always wrong, understated by 10-40%

Other suggestions
. Bring back the old page, the new one is cluttered
. "Check inventory" button, if you don't want to do this then use another site or integrate into a KVS-query that eg we can cut-and-paste into our KVS.
. "Not available" message, rather than grinding out a useless list of richly-priced fares
. Don't send Alert E-Mails for a $20 drop in a $1000 fare, maybe 25% off is interesting
. Vaguer searches, eg F class between SE Asia and Europe under $5000 between dates [edit - maybe you can do this already, I just don't know how]
. Business class does exist

Very grateful for the opportunity for input, used to use the site a lot till it became unusable.

Javascript, hmm, no objection in principle but if you're thinking of using it for additional clutter and popups, no thanks. As for the interface, would rather enter an old-fashioned text query.

I think flyertalkers don't mind typing in detailed queries with a long list of alternative from and to airports and dates, given a clear description of the format of the command - helpful too if the query can be saved. What drives us away is having to click through a forest of junk. Oh, and the constant disappointments as we click click click on a low fare which ultimately turns into a high fare.

Also please be more upfront about what's in it for you - I'm sure if you gave a shortcut to book via your sponsored link, that FTers would use it. As an example have a look at betterbidding.com where the constant refrain is
Although not a requirement for using this site, it is very much appreciated if you use the links on the board (at the top of the page, in my signature, or in the support page) to begin your PRICELINE and HOTWIRE purchases. THANKS!!"
This gets repeated ad nauseam on the betterbidding site.

Last edited by harryhv; Jun 4, 08 at 11:46 pm
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Old Jun 4, 08, 11:19 pm
  #8  
 
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I must be missing something, because FC's "teaser" fares shown at first are seldom bookable. Heck, I could generate a table of low numbers myself, enjoy looking at it, and then toss it and go to Kayak for real work.

Speaking of that, FC's useful part seems to be running Kayak, so why should we not go to Kayak directly? That way we also don't have to click on "I don't want emails" every single time before looking at Kayak results.

It is pretty clear what different groups of people want. You should pick your niche or two and do them really well. Presently I have no idea what FC wants to be or do.
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Old Jun 4, 08, 11:46 pm
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"including no departure point at all " ~ ^

Never quite understood *why* the Dropdowns: [Filter LowsOnly], [PPM<0.xx] & [Savings] ~ except shortening the page. (not to confuse with 'Sort by PPM' ^ ).

@:-) give PPM a 'fudge factor' capability (+500, +1000, etc) for segments?
@:-) Carrier Filters + alliances ?
@:-) Disclaimer: explaining how carriers can file all manner of teaser [email protected] that they have NO intention of ever making bookable

/starters
/.
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Old Jun 4, 08, 11:49 pm
  #10  
 
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Originally Posted by aktchi View Post
I must be missing something, because FC's "teaser" fares shown at first are seldom bookable.
But there are gems among the dross, FC is the original source for many sensational fares on the MR forum.
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Old Jun 5, 08, 6:24 am
  #11  
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Originally Posted by zbenye View Post
In that case why would we bother with farecompare? This was precisely the reason why I had abandoned it.
Ok. The whole point of our site is to allow a consumer to get an idea of what is the lowest price they could hope to pay for a ticket between any two cities.

Why is that useful if you dont know the fare is available ? Basically for the same reason that Kelley Blue Book or Edmunds is useful when you are off to buy a car. Its allows you to make informed decisions......[/marketing ]

Now after saying that, I realize that in an ideal world we'd like to be able to show you whats available on every day of each of the next 11 months. Unfortunately the economics of that make it impossible - a simple roundtrip shop on a GDS costs anywhere from 2.5cents to 5.5 cents - if you want to add in a 30 day flexible search the price goes up. So at the moment we are stuck - if we had more users we could cache availability information and the number of entries in the cache would make the site more useful - but in order to make the site more useful we have to add availability info....Anyone got a large spare bag of cash ?

So - what we do instead that should be useful to flyertalkers is to take each ATP data feed, and crunch all the fares and rules and stick it in a database. from there we can generate email alerts, fare listing, maps etc that give you at least an idea that a cheap fare exists. Without this you would be hunting and pecking for days to find it. (Anyone remember Toronto to Larnaca on Alitalia ?)
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Old Jun 5, 08, 6:29 am
  #12  
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Originally Posted by Riot_Nrrrd View Post
If you are going to have a "power-user fare listing tool", please make sure that it includes the supplemental fuel surcharges.
Y. Apologies for this. We had some bad code for estimating surcharges that failed more often than it succeeded.

We've been working on updating the code, should be rolling it out within the next couple of weeks.
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Old Jun 5, 08, 7:41 am
  #13  
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+1 on these:

. Vaguer searches, eg F class between SE Asia and Europe under $5000 between dates [edit - maybe you can do this already, I just don't know how]
. Business class does exist
. Carrier Filters + alliances ?
Emphasis on B-class functionality on the FT search page.

I like client side filtering. Power users seeking valued data can be expected to use appropriate, functioning browsers and to trust FC's code not to be malicious. I like datagrids ala .net/infragistics, componentOne, etc that allow me to explore from general to specific without gathering a new recordset.

I'd like to be able to save a number of select searches that I can resubmit with a simple click, or see in a BI report when accessing the page.

I am not opposed to paying a nominal rate for access and development costs, akin to KVS' rates.

I'm still wrestling with how KVS, et al, compliment or compete with your business model.

Finally, I'd like more YYZ-LCA styled fares, can ya' work on that one first?

PS: Can you publish a draft product roadmap at some point, so as to gather our thoughts on your thoughts of what we, the power users, requested?
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Old Jun 5, 08, 8:22 am
  #14  
 
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Originally Posted by aktchi View Post
I must be missing something, because FC's "teaser" fares shown at first are seldom bookable. Heck, I could generate a table of low numbers myself, enjoy looking at it, and then toss it and go to Kayak for real work.
^

What is the FT page for Farecompare? I have not been to see it.
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Old Jun 5, 08, 8:27 am
  #15  
 
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Where did the Y-UP/K-Up page go? I miss that...
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