The last thing travellers wishing to plan a lastminute trip, or a weekend getaway, want to do is spend hours trawling through the internet, with all its excess of information. A lastminute trip really should be last minute and one travel site that ensures a quick, user-friendly experience is Site59.com.
(Caption: Damon Tassone,
General Manager - Site59.com)
is named for the 59th, or last minute of the hour. This travel site boasts an unusual variety of good value, long weekend package deals, covering airfare, hotel and car rental all in one. Offering departures from 36 cities to hundreds of diverse destinations, consumers can book from fourteen days until three hours before departure.
Currently Site59 receives three million unique visitors per month and this figure is climbing steadily. Following recent site enhancements
, I decided to speak to Damon Tassone, Site59 General Manager, to find out just how Site59 manage to find such great deals.
Damon begins, “We offer consumers a way to travel at the last minute very easily, to spend very little time searching and at great value. So they can get out of town and have a very memorable weekend”.
Damon tells me that Site59 was initially created as an “Innovative consumer model,” that would also meet supplier needs effectively: “Site59`s objective was two-fold. It was created to give consumers a new and better way to think about travel in the last minute and to give suppliers an effective and risk-free way to move their excess inventory” He added, “In our view, many travel internet sites at the time had thought a lot about the consumer, but not about the supplier. We spent a lot of time thinking about both”.
With 50% of bookings occurring three days or less before departure, Damon attributes much of Site59`s success to its devotion to the lastminute product, which he tells me “We are completely focused on.” He comments, “We provide a unique product in the marketplace, giving consumers a new way to travel at the last minute; by pulling together excess inventory from our supplies and packaging them at the last minute, consumers are offered a really easy way to travel. They spend very little time planning, finding great value and everything will be taken care of for them, including air, hotel, car and often something extra as well”.
Damon maintains that these last minute booking trends are the result of consumer desire to get away on a whim, to be spontaneous and to do something different with their weekend, rather than stay in their city and doing the usual.
If you are looking something a little out of the ordinary, Site59 can certainly cater for you. Damon reveals: “One thing that we are very proud of is that we send most of our customers to non-traditional leisure destinations. Of course we can send people to the Las Vegas` and Hawaii`s of the world, but we also send people to Montreal, New Orleans and LA for short weekend trips”.
One major drawback of Site59 is that it only offers departures from 36 cities in Canada and the US. When I questioned Damon about this, he responded: “We are consistently rolling out new originations and we do have plans to roll out additional originations at the right time”. He added, “We don`t currently plan to offer other international originations, but we are always evaluating things”.
Travellers wanting to plan a slightly lengthier trip may find Site59 slightly limiting, as it does specialise in weekend trips. However, Site59 will respond to customer and supplier demand and as a direct result of this, have recently rolled out mid-week trips. Damon informs me these have proved to be very popular. Another recent enhancement is Wednesday departures for Hawaii and long weekends, for example July 4th.
In another response to consumer demand, Site59 recently announced the addition of an insurance booking option. Damon comments: “We felt a need in the marketplace for consumers to have an option to spend a little money to protect their trip in the environment that we are in”.
Always increasing their presence, Site59 have recently announced new relationships with Air Canada and Hawaiian Airlines. In addition, Damon tells me they have other airlines and hotels lined up.
Striving to provide the best online lastminute experience, Damon concludes: “Our vision for Site59 is to continue to be the market leader and the pioneer in the last minute travel market”.