Archive

Posts Tagged ‘uptake’

Nov
09

The travel research and planning site Uptake.com has launched a new Travel Q&A feature, allowing users to login via Facebook and get recommendations, photos and other input from friends on potential travel destinations.

Uptake's New Travel Q&A Feature

Uptake's New Travel Q&A Feature

What makes Uptake’s approach different, and maybe even better, than other social travel sites such as Gogobot.com is that Uptake accesses all your friends’ information about a particular destination, not just check-ins and places people have lived. You’ll get access to friends’ photos, comments and status updates about your destinations of interest, which results in much more information being shared. And as we all know, the more information the better when trying to plan a trip.

To try Uptake’s new Travel Q&A feature for yourself, visit Uptake.com, log in, and let the sharing begin!

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Nov
24

Earlier this week we presented at The Travel Innovation Summit at the PhoCusWright conference in Hollywood, Calif. Along with 31 other innovative companies, we gave a 10-minute demonstration of our product, which you can see here. Some of the other innovations we found interesting include:

Dealbase.com—launching at the conference and run by Sam Shank, DealBase provides the largest hotel deal Web site and clearly presented its easy to use search and filter tools. In this economy, who’s not after a deal?

Rezgo.com—run by Tips from the T-list publisher Stephen Joyce, Rezgo also launched at the conference and provides an online distribution platform for tour and activity suppliers, as well as managing payment and fulfillment. It’s a winning idea and reminds me of WorldRes when it provided a platform for the long-tail bed and breakfast market.

UpTake —Yen Lee clearly explained the semantic search capabilities that UpTake provides to simplify the travel research process through creating a comprehensive database, analyzing travelers feedback and filtering preferences. Sounds like you’d need a Ph.D. to work at UpTake—impressive!

Yapta—Tom Romary launched its frequent-flier award seat alert service, enabling travelers to be notified when they can use their frequent-flier miles to book an award seat that becomes available on a specific flight. Again, in this economy, who doesn’t want to leverage their air miles—smart move.

Of the innovators who made it through to the five minutes of fame on center stage (Home & Abroad, Wandrian, Yapta, TripIt, Triporati and IM@), it was IM@ who grabbed the attention of the judging panel. You can watch the demo featuring its mobile content management platform and mobile applications here.

In addition to presenting, we seemed to talk non-stop—to our peers at the innovation summit, interested potential partners, and press and bloggers. In the pavilion, we enjoyed the company of newly launched TravelBeen.com and particularly enjoyed Technorati’s supply of Charles Chocolates. Also, it was fun to catch up with BootsnAll, OffBeat Guides and to compare notes with our friendly Austrian competitors Tripwolf.

At the Bloggers Summit, the panel of seasoned bloggers discussed a number of topical areas relating to blogging and business—some useful tips and pit falls to avoid. It was interesting to meet up with some of the industries most respected bloggers, including The Boot, Jen Leo (Los Angeles Times), Travolution and the Cranky Flier to name a few. If you’re not following these guys, then you should be!

It’s great to see so much innovation in the travel industry up close and to be a part of it. We’re back home with many more new ideas, now it’s just a case of implementation!

Phocuswright_travelmuse

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Sep
22

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.

Uptake_feelin_broke_large

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Aug
07

Plan Travel with Plan-It!

Most travelers visit numerous Web sites when planning a trip, but they lack a simple way to organize their findings or share research efficiently. TravelMuse can help solve that problem. Today we released the TravelMuse Plan-It! widget for site publishers.    (Click to read the full press release.)

Visitors to sites that feature the Plan-It! social bookmarking widget can simply click the Plan-It! button on any page and save content directly into the TravelMuse Planner—a centralized place to collect, organize and share travel research. Content publishers can download and install Plan-It! by visiting the Plan-It! page on TravelMuse.com.

This widget is perfect for travel content Web sites such as CVBs, DMOs, B&Bs, travel blogs— any quality travel site that wants to empower its readers with the ability to more easily plan trips.

Three TravelMuse partners—which all provide great trip planning content—have already deployed Plan-It!: Uptake.com, CiaoBambino.com and CompulsiveTraveler.tv.

  • Uptake aggregates and organizes reviews from thousands of different sites so that you can get a complete picture of a hotel, restaurant or attraction before you arrive. (You can read about how UpTake is using Plan-It! on the UpTake blog.)
  • CiaoBambino provides very rich and detailed reviews of high-end family travel destinations and properties.
  • CompulsiveTraveler has beautiful, engrossing travel videos organized by activity and destination.

If you’re a traveler, explore these sites and try out the Plan-It! widget. Click on a page featuring the widget, and that content is automatically stored inside of a TravelMuse trip plan.

If you’re a publisher, visit our partner page to learn more. Plan-It! is free to download and use, and gives your site visitors the power to more efficiently plan trips. We hope you find this tool as cool and useful as we do.

Plan-It+How+It+Works

[http://www.travelmuse.com/about/plan-it.htm]

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Apr
24

For the majority of people in the United States, the process of online travel booking is a pretty familiar experience by now. It’s probably right up there with buying books on Amazon or searching for information via Google.

It turns out that online travel is in fact the most mature and largest single e-commerce category. More than $90,000,000,000 (that’s 90 billion dollars) in travel transactions are done online every year—in the United States alone. And the market is still growing—with growth greater than 50 percent (year over year) seen in emerging dominant economies like China, India, and Brazil.

So if online travel has become commonplace, and Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity and Priceline have become household names, why is there such a boom in travel start-ups right now? What problems are they trying to solve? How do they hope to compete?

Look no further than TripAdvisor, the newest household name on the block. TripAdvisor recognized a great opportunity and filled a huge void that was unmet by the large online travel agencies — people want hotel reviews from real people.  Is it really surprising that people are nearly twice as likely to trust user reviews than what the hotel says about their rooms?  (TripAdvisor now has 10 million reviews and has become such a hot phenomenon, that some hotels have taken to posting favorable reviews of themselves; so make sure you read between the lines.)

So this current groundswell in travel start-ups (which some have dubbed travel 2.0) is a direct response to the identification of a whole host of other niches and voids that have yet to be filled in the space. And the acceleration of innovation over the last 12-18 months is largely attributable to the decreasing cost of technology and simply a function of the Web itself. Data is everywhere (but useful information is scarce), software frameworks have gotten inexpensive and it doesn’t take as much money or as many people to kick-start a new venture. That said, I have a sense that we are seeing a bit of a travel 2.0 bubble with something of a “build it and they will come” philosophy.

As one of the new entrants in this space, we’re trying torestrain ourselves and stay focused—building a great travel planning product and authoring interesting and helpful content. Here are the key issues we see and are focused on:

  • Booking is the last 5 percent of the online travel process. The 95 percent that comes before it is where all the heavy lifting happens. What people want is help in getting ideas of where to travel and what to do. Hence, our investment in editorial content that is vetted, fact-checked and written by local experts and journalists.
  • Not everyone who visits your Web site wants the same thing. Relevancy is essential and we’re focusing on family travelers first. We want to make sure that if you’re a family traveler, our insight and information is helpful to you.
  • Planning a trip online can be taxing. We think it should be fun and easy. That’s why we’re so jazzed about the TravelMuse Planner which is currently in private beta, but will be broadly available this summer.

While these are the key issues that we’re focused on, there are many more opportunities out there. We’re excited to see what some of our peers are up to like the guys at UpTake who are making it simple to quickly search thousands of content sites to find information relevant to families.

Travel is a space that is constantly re-defining itself and there are many unmet needs still to be addressed.  I agree with Yen Lee at Uptake, that online travel is nowhere near “done”.

What do you think the big opportunities are? Or for that matter, the nagging little splinters that should get fixed?

We want to hear from you.

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