Summary:

In time for the heaviest travel weekend of the year, GateGuru on Wednesday rolled out an updated version of its app that provides more day-of-travel support services, including the ability to book discount car rentals.

Airplane Sunset
photo: Flickr / kossy@finedays

Just in time for the biggest travel weekend of the year, GateGuru is rolling out a revamped version of its app that adds several new features, including the ability to book last-minute discount car rentals before the plane reaches the gate.

Since launching in 2009, GateGuru has won over nearly one million air travelers with its detailed information on the restaurants, shops and other amenities inside airport terminals. But with with its newest release, the New York-based startup hopes to establish its app as not just an in-airport guide but a comprehensive day-of-travel service.

Over the past few years, the app has added other features, including security line wait times and flight delay updates. But Dan Gellert, the company’s founder, said releasing GateGuru 3.0 is like taking the beta wraps off and launching the product they always had in mind.

“Mobile is the future of travel, but yet there was no resource to serve as an end-to-end solution for the traveler,” he said. “We wanted to change that, and by doing so, reinvent the day-of travel… from the minute you walk out your door to the minute you get to your destination.”

The new app’s car rental-booking feature, in particular, is sure to attract the attention of new travelers. Through a partnership with Avis-Budget Group, GateGuru users can now use the app to check for last-minute rentals at their destination, while they’re taxiing on the runway. If they book a car — at rates which could be 5 to 25 percent below normal prices — GateGuru gets a revenue share of the transaction. (Until now, the company has made money by licensing its airport amenity database to other travel companies.)

The Hotel Tonight-like feature gives car rental companies a way to dynamically communicate inventory levels and offer day-of discounts that they might not have been willing to give any earlier.  Although the company is starting with car rentals, Gellert said other travel supply verticals, including hotels, could be added next year.

Additionally, users can now forward their itineraries to plans@gateguruapp.com to have all of their flight information ported into the GateGuru app. Once the company has that data, it uses its proprietary matching technology to pull up all of the corresponding in-airport information.

On the day of travel, users can just open up the app to get all the relevant information they need — from terminal-specific tips about restaurants and other amenities to gate and departure updates to security line wait times. (Previously, users could integrate their Tripit or Kayak accounts with GateGuru to access their itineraries through the app, but the new itinerary feature simplifies that process.) Longtime users of the app will also notice a different, more personalized user interface, which the company said is the product of two years of tinkering.

Gellert also said that while it currently gets security wait line data from app users, it’s working with the Transportation Security Administration to access historical wait time data for predictive modeling.

Leading travel app Tripit (now owned by Concur), as well as others, also help air passengers organize their itineraries and travel plans. But in a crowded universe of travel apps, GateGuru, which has raised $1.3 million, has already established a strong brand with its database of airport amenity information. Its newest features will likely only make it more of a go-to travel companion for airline passengers.

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