Zoombu.co.uk is a travel search engine for flights, hotels, and rental cars. The site has very limited information at this stage, but Skyscanner, who recently acquired Zoombu, will be expanding the site – beginning with rail travel – in the spring. Eventually, travelers will be able to use multiple filters to create a trip to their exact specifications.
Zoombu beta was acquired by Skyscanner in February of 2011. Zoombu was founded in 2008 by Rachel Armitage and Alistair Hann with primarily coverage of Western Europe with basic coverage for flights and transfers worldwide.
Eventually, Zoombu will be able to search for the best route from whatever locations a user indicates. It will search flights, trains, ferries, coaches, driving, car hires, and airport car parking. It is striving to be the most comprehensive way to search for the best route for the user’s door-to-door travel. This is unique in that it adds to the usual travel options of flight, hotel, and car.
Currently, the search function is disabled as Zoombu is being integrated with Skyscanner, so the only functionality of Zoombu is a link to the flight search with the Skyscanner tool. Zoombu itself does nothing as it is under construction.
There is also a link to a blog where updates are to be posted, but there is no other information and comments are closed. Users may contact the site via email link. Links are provided to Facebook and Twitter where team members respond to user questions.
For now, Skyscanner appears to remain fully functional for flights, hotels, and car rentals, but Zoombu is under construction.
The site is under construction with minimal functionality. The only working items are links to Facebook and Twitter as well as flight searches through the Skyscanner interface. Below are notes on the Skyscanner flight search.
During testing, a flight was chosen and a price quoted. This linked to an affiliate, ebookers. There was also, in small print, an option to book with the selected airline, Delta. The Delta flight appeared to be less at first, but a look at their small print confirmed that, with fees, the prices were comparable. This process was repeated with a US Airways flight and it appeared that the flight was unavailable on the airline site. Alternate flights were offered and rates were, again, comparable to the affiliate – this time faregeek. *Results may be viewed in various currencies.
Once Zoombu is up and running, users will be able to enter starting address, destination, and travel dates. Zoombu will work out routes via various types of transport and providers. They will then yield results including cheapest, greenest, or fastest routes and link to suppliers for booking. When this functionality is available, it will save travelers time and money as they plan their trips.
Right now there is no registration process, but users can follow Zoombu on Twitter, Facebook, or via RSS feed. It is unknown whether registration will be required when the site is fully functional.
There is currently no cost associated with use of either Zoombu or Skyscanner.
Once out of beta, this application would appeal to people who travel both for business and for pleasure. If it actually allows users to filter results by greenest, fastest, or cheapest as well as including trains, coaches, and other transport options, it could be the most comprehensive travel planner short of a live travel agent.