We were pleased to learn that one of our partners, UpTake successfully closed its second round of funding, raising more than $10 million. Congratulations to Yen, Elliott and the rest of the UpTake team!
UpTake has so far focused mainly on hotels and activities and has cleverly indexed more than 20 million online reviews and opinions from travelers across the Web, personalizing results to match user preferences. Compared to TripAdvisor, which claims 15 million online reviews in its company fact sheet, that’s 33 percent more reviews!
UpTake includes content from thousands of trusted Web sites like TripAdvisor, Expedia, Fodors, goCityKids, Virtual Tourist and Yahoo Travel. I put its site to the test with Puerto Vallarta, a destination I’m visiting in a couple of weeks on my own family vacation, and found some great sites for activities, including canopytours-vallarta.com, which offers zip line tours through the jungle.
I was able to save the research I’d found on UpTake into my Mexico Trip plan on the TravelMuse Planner using the TravelMuse Plan-It! Widget that UpTake has placed on all of its content pages. I simply clicked on the TravelMuse Plan-It Widget at the bottom of the UpTake page, and just like on Del.ic.ous.com, I bookmarked the information. So now, my family and I can refer to that information as we collaboratively plan our trip and can revisit the relevant page on UpTake.
UpTake has done a truly remarkable job to grow traffic to 150,000 unique visitors per month over the past five months, and as research shows, 73 percent of people use the Web to find information for their trips. The SEO investment Uptake has made is paying dividends with Google’s search results, where its content is highly discoverable. If I type “Santa Barbara family hotels” in the Google search box, UpTake shows up as the first result, beating TripAdvisor (which, let’s face it, has been around for a lot longer and has a much larger budget than UpTake).
So what’s next? Having built a solid search offering in Hotels, it sounds like UpTake is heading off to champion new categories such as UpTake Lodging, UpTake Things to Do, UpTake Restaurants and UpTake Beaches. This makes a lot of sense, given how it has excelled in aggregating information so far.
It’s also not surprising that UpTake seems to be investing further in business intelligence and analysis—after all it’s a data driven business! However, on a lighter note, I really do think the key lever for UpTake will be the Facebook Secretary. Elliott, do you not have this covered already with all those Twitter connections ?
UpTake has brought order to the mass of fragmented travel data that exists on the Web today. I’m excited to see what it rolls out next to help people find relevant travel information even more quickly.