Travel Weeklys Technology E-letter: May 3, 2006

LEISURELINK, which provides timeshare and vacation-rental inventory to GDSs and online agencies, closed on a $5 million Series B funding round from Mission Ventures and Clearstone Venture Partners. Kelly Tompkins, LeisureLinks founder and chief strategist, said the funding will enable the Pasadena, Calif., company to expand internationally and to recruit a world-class management and engineering team.

 

TRAVELOCITY began powering Buy.coms travel store. Selecting the Travel tab on the Buy.com shopping site, refers users to Travelocity.com for travel research, shopping and booking. Under the agreement, Travelocity will provide Buy.com consumers with a variety of travel promotions.

SIDESTEP broadened its scope to include searches for tours, attractions, event tickets and dining through a partnership with destinations specialist Viator. But with the beta underway of SideStep.coms Activities section, there isnt a lot of metasearch activity going on. Most if not all of the inventory comes through one supplier, Viator, although SideStep says it plans to search some 20 Web sites by the time the Activities beta is complete.

KAYAK.COM, armed with a $10 million budget, signed on the Brooklyn Brothers ad agency to conduct an online and offline marketing campaign, the metasearch Web sites first. The ad blitz, tied to the summer travel season, will begin in June, Kayak said.

ASTA AND THE BUSINESS TRAVEL COALTION teamed up to create a working group that will focus on prospective changes, and possible upheavals, in the ways GDS services are packaged, priced and paid for. The Travel Distribution Working Group, as the new entity is known, will undertake educational and information-gathering efforts to help prepare GDS users to make informed commercial decisions in an uncertain environment. In addition, BTC Chairman Kevin Mitchell said he believes that his constituency can influence evolving relationships between the two sides. Mitchell said that at a time when airlines seem bent on pursuing cost-cutting measures detrimental to their most important customers, corporate travel managers are in the best industry position to influence the outcome because they can drive business.

Technology Editor:

Dennis Schaal

Phone: (201) 902-1904

[email protected]

For promotional opportunities in the E-letters, contact [email protected].

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