Yapta.com, a site that monitors airfare and hotel prices to get users bargains, has raised $2 million in a second round of funding to further product development and expand its marketing strategy. The company says it’s not enough anymore to use sites that find only the cheapest fares at the time, since these prices fluctuate so widely.
Based in Seattle, Yapta allows its users to select specific flights and hotel bookings, and the service will email you when the prices drop. This gives the company a leg up over competitors like Travel Zoo, Cheap Tickets and Kayak, which only serve up low fares in a single shot, and even cFares, which offers users cheaper “wholesale” airfares. Its closest competitor is still probably Farecast, which also tracks specific flights, but predicts whether prices are headed up or down.
Users can search for flights, hotels or airfare vouchers directly on Yapta’s web site by entering their destination cities and dates, as well as their preferred airlines or hotel chains, amenities or star ratings. Reviewing the search results, users can choose to track certain flights or hotel bookings. Yapta also offers Firefox and Internet Explorer browser add-ons that let you use the service on other airline and travel sites. For example, you can tag flights to monitor that you find on an airline’s site.
The flights and hotels you tag will show up in a centralized list on the Yapta site when you log in. The service then automatically checks the airfares or hotel rates multiple times per day for all your tags, so if any price drops, you’ll know quickly. If the price goes down after you’ve made a purchase, Yapta will inform you of this as well, and will tell you how to get a refund or voucher. This guarantees that its travelers get the best price possible, the company says.
The recent round of funding was led by Voyager Capital and included existing investors Bay Partners, First Round Capital, Swiftsure Capital, W Media Ventures and several private investors. Yapta has now raised $7.7 million to date. It pulls in other revenue through targeted advertising for hotels, tourist destinations and even Cirque du Soleil.