Rearden Commerce is conducting a private beta for a travel-planning collaboration tool which it hopes will streamline travel search and make it more personalized.
In some ways, Storyboard has parallels to the ill-fated Gliider and TravelMuseÂ because you can copy and paste your research from around the Web and store it for easy access, but Storyboard goes much further.
With Storyboard, you can copy and paste the flight, hotel, car rental, restaurant reservation and golf outing you sampled last month, for example, enter your new travel dates and click refresh to get updated pricing and book your travel plans.
In this way, search gets much simpler because you’ve already narrowed your parameters, although you can conduct broader, traditional searches, as well.
Storyboard is built around Rearden’s Deem e-commerce platform, which accesses travel inventory from sources such as ITA Software for flights, and Orbitz, direct-connects and global distribution systems for hotels, says Paul Todd, Rearden’s chief product officer.
Todd says Rearden’s “relevance engine” also helps personalize user searches because results can be sorted to take into account preselected flight and hotel preferences, as well as previous bookings and current location.
Storyboard can be used by individual travelers and for group travel, as well.
In the group scenario, Storyboard can be a collaborative tool.
If you are planning to go on vacation with a group of friends or if you are researching a business trip with a group of colleages, with Storyboard you can comment in real-time about each inventory item and thus discuss each piece of the trip, make any necessary changes and then book your trip together, Â Todd says.
Although it won’t be in the initial release, plans call for Storybook to enable businesses or groups of people to assign a delegate, who would be empowered to book the travel for the group, Todd says.
The idea for Storyboard grew out of several “pain points,” Todd says, including confusion over making sense out of the preponderous of travel choices and the lack of tools available for people to plan their travel together.
“Coordinating travel today is hideous if you are traveling with other people,” Todd says.
The Storyboard trip-planning tool is geared for both business travelers in managed and unmanaged travel programs and consumers, but would debut in the next few months among partners using the Deem e-commerce platform, includingÂ Chase Ultimate Rewards,Â American Express OpenÂ Â andÂ American Express Intelligent Online Marketplace.
It remains to be seen whether large, managed travel programs, with all their concerns about corporate travel policies, would see Storybook as as a useful piece of their programs.
Rearden is slated to demo Storybook Nov. 15 as part of PhoCusWright’s Travel Innovation Summit in Hollywood, Fla.