Custom Newsfeeds, TripAdvisor Bookings, Airfordable

Facebook adding custom newsfeeds?

Facebook Custom NewsfeedsWe’ve reported quite a bit on the ways Twitter is copying Facebook, but now it looks like Facebook may be taking a page from Twitter’s playbook. Category-specific newsfeeds similar to Twitter’s lists have been experimented with since October, according to some reports, but now appear to be rolling out a bit more widely.

In an example tweeted out by Laundry Services’ CEO there appeared to be 13 categories including style, travel and headlines. These feeds seem to include updates and posts from friends and pages being followed – as well as pages that aren’t being followed by someone, but the feeds do appear to offer some customization.

One big point worth noting is that, in the example tweeted out, no ads appeared – but some analysts expect that to change if this new newsfeed option rolls out to the wider Facebook audience.

TripAdvisor offers instant bookings in most popular locations

As TripAdvisor has increased its ability to allow for instant bookings instead of sending visitors to third-party sites so too has its ability to cover the most popular destinations in the world.

A December study by financial firm PiperJaffray found that TripAdvisor’s Instant Bookings covered a whopping 92% of the most popular hotels in the most popular markets in the world. That number is up from only 76% in September and is thinks to the partnership TripAdvisor forged in November. The study involved the top 500 hotels in the top 100 markets.

Airfordable wants to make it…well, affordable, to fly

AirfordableDepending on where you want to go flying isn’t exactly what many would consider “cheap”. However, new startup Airfordable wants to change that and get more people to fly by paying for their tickets in installments.

Airfordable has a $2,000 maximum on tickets it allows right now and does not charge interest like a credit card would – but it does charge a flat 20% service fee it spreads out across all payments. Travelers must pay for one third of the ticket’s cost up front and select if they want to pay off the ticket in biweekly or monthly installments. The founder says she wanted to make traveling easier for those without credit cards or who can’t normally afford to fly. Airfordable says many of its users are people who have used it to plan trips for major life milestones, like honeymoons or anniversaries.