Watch Out Expedia: Wanderfly Offers A MUCH Better Way To Plan Trips

christy liu wanderflyWanderfly Co-Founder Christy Liu

Wanderfly is a new startup that’s got an interesting twist on the online travel experience: you start your search with your profile and budget, and choose hotels/flights/etc later.This flips the usual model of online travel search and makes intuitive sense, because that’s how we humans usually think about this stuff.

It’s pretty interesting, so we thought we’d have a chat with co-founder Christy Liu. The company recently raised $1 million in funding through AngelList in a round led by top VC Charles River Ventures. Liu told us exclusively that the company is closing the final leg of this funding round with MentorTech Ventures today.

Wanderfly takes data from third-party sites like Kayak, and others and then serves it up to you according to your profile, giving you a personalised menu of things you might want to do. Obviously, if you go through them to buy that fly or book that hotel, Wanderfly takes a cut. They also feature certain companies or services for a fee.

Next they want to help groups, and not just individuals, plan their trips, and start a community experts program, which aren’t just nice-sounding features, but smart distribution. Groups can help the site grow virally, and user-generated content helps with search-engine rankings.

The online travel industry is very lucrative — but also extremely cut-throat. Customer acquisition is the name of the game, and the big guys have bid up ad rates, making it very hard for startups to compete. They’ve also gotten extremely good at SEO.

Wanderfly is a solid service with a sound business model—and it’s also pretty. Take a look.

Let's plan a trip to New York, and let's say we can spend $5,000 per person (hey, a guy can dream)

Let's pick food, party and luxury, because that's how we roll

The site works for a while...

And that's the results page you get. Pretty cool! This is all content pulled in from somewhere else.

And here's the money bit: Wanderfly offers restaurants and things to do, and potentially gets an affiliate fee. (That Quintessentially box is also an ad.)

Here's what it looks like when you look at a restaurant (mmm, chocolate)

Here's the flight search interface, powered by Kayak

And here's hotel search

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