ZapTravel is a beautifully made travel startup by Andrew Lacy, the guy who cofounded Tapulous. It's a joy to use because its aesthetics is amazing. It's like 500px + Kayak got together with powerset. This startup is based in San Francisco and Europe (London + Paris), and backed by Khosla Ventures (listed on Angelist).
Andrew calls it: A smart "Kayak" for tailored deals when you don't know where or when you want to go!
For me the site is mostly a pleasure to use because it makes searching and browsing for deals fun. Unlike most travel sites where searching for deals is a pain and you want to spend the least amount of time on there as possible, this makes it actually an enjoyable experience.
It's brillant visually. Its top sights to see section uses user-generated content and information from Frommers. There's some cool features such as allowing you to swap out hotels and add deals to wishlist as well.
I think there's a lot of great potential for this startup, could be like Kayak one day. At this point though, its semantic search isn't very impressive and deals are often "no longer available". I think these issues will get better over time but it is still a very impressive site overall.
Check out their explainer video:
To me, ZapTravel wants to be the best by combining inspiring travel sites such as BBC Travel or Isango, "travel deal" sites such as lastminute.com and "booking travel" sites. It's an ambitious goal but they're off to a good start.
I'm very excited about this startup and intrigued by its distributed team. I wonder how it'll work out. I also love the idea, they're not ignoring Europe's huge travel opportunity and setting up shop there early. I think it'll be hard for Rocket Internet to clone this one, assuming it's worth cloning but I think it is.
I've just followed them on Twitter and you can follow them as well here.