GateGuru's challenge will be to figure out how it can continue to offer the features that its user base loves while finding a way to either increase engagement when the user isn't at the airport (like its rivals at TripIt), or make more money from them when they are.
When GateGuru released version 3.0 of its airport iOS app in late November, the reviews were not good. Within 48 hours of its release, co-founder Dan Gellert wrote a blog post taking blame for the changes and promising a fix.
That fix arrived last night with a update to the app, along with another apology in the release notes. ”We clearly made a mistake and we have addressed it by adding back the Search by Airport functionality.”
GateGuru had removed the airport search functionality in favor of a more personalized experience that would gather airport information from the user after she loaded her travel plans a la TripIt or WorldMate. It turned out that users didn’t want to have to do that — they just wanted info about what shops, restaurants, bars, and services they could find at airport terminals without giving up all of their personal details.
The updated app now contains an “Airports” button in the main navigation that takes users to a page that automatically lists the closest airports based on GPS coordinates and allows users to search for airports as well.
Users always complain when websites and apps change designs or features, but the response to GateGuru’s changes were so widespread and overwhelmingly negative that they had no choice but to retreat.