Travelstart adds to its value proposition by acquiring social intelligence startup


Online travel booking agency Travelstart which aggregates flight information and prices from local and international airlines, sorts it and allows you to filter by preference has recently acquired Satisfly, a Hong Kong based social intelligence company that invented the concept of “intelligent seating” on airlines.

If you’re a frequent traveler you must recall a flight in which you were seated next to a passenger that made you feel quite uncomfortable.

With Satisfly’s social seating solution (not available anywhere in Africa yet), based on your social interests and behavior you can choose your flight mood such as “Business Talk”, “Easy Chat”, “Work”, or “Relax” and select your preferences for the ideal neighbor. Using Satisfly technology the airline can try to seat you with a compatible passenger. I’d be keen to know if they’d extend this as a blind date meeting service 🙂

Satisfly Logo

Satisfly will also be able to target you with personalised offers based on social data that you have opted to share with them.

Expect some time for the social seating offering to be available in South Africa. This is designed as a B2B solution and Travelstart will need to partner with local airlines to offer some of these features.

Satisfly was launched in 2008 by Sergio Mello and Edoardo Serra. Sergio has joined Travelstart in the dual position of Head of Innovation, while remaining as CEO of Satisfly.Although fully-owned by Travelstart, the Satisfly brand will be retained and Satisfly management (based in Taiwan) will remain independent.

It’s great to see Travelstart leaping forward in travel tech.


Travelstart logo

They already offer:

  • flight, hotel and car bookings,
  • an affiliate programme with many tools for any website to earn a commission of sales that the website refers, many localised website versions including the South African (which include search results from low costs airlines, even the newly launched FlySafair),
  • a solution that saves time as you don’t have to have multiple browser windows open to search each airline’s website separately.

Note: If you have ebucks, vitality miles or are on a loyalty programme it makes sense to check directly with the airline website what they have on offer.

For independent travel consultants, Travelstart’s neXt platform offers a flexible, tablet-friendly application that features comprehensive flight search results, easy-to-use reporting and financial tools, as well as the technology needed to accept payments from a variety of channels rather than just credit cards.

There’s already quite a few flight aggregator sites available to South Africans, but what I’ve found with and other local aggregator sites that are using travelstart’s api / white label solution is that they are cheaper than, e.g. sites using FlightSiteAgent.

It’s great to see a travel and tech company shaking up the airwaves with innovative offerings for African travelers.
I’m following this company very closely!

Zaid is an intrepid traveler from South Africa that has traveled to all 7 continents. He loves to explore new destinations, experience new activities and go off the beaten path.

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