SideStep, best known as a travel search
company, expanded into the social networking arena with the
purchase this month of TripUp, home to a community of travelers generally in
the 20-to-35 age range.
Angeles-based TripUp is designed to help trip planners find travel
companions, get advice from experts on their destinations and make
new acquaintances who live at those destinations.
The expert advisers
are most often people who live at the destinations, and they
sometimes are individuals who know the destinations very well based
on frequent visits, said Rob Solomon, SideStep president and
TripUp from founder and CEO, Sam Rogoway, who will stay on as a
consultant, Solomon said, adding that others on TripUp's small
staff will join the staff of Santa Clara, Calif.-based
Solomon said the
purchase provides more income opportunities for his company in two
ways. SideStep earns its income from advertising and from referral
fees when its visitors click through to booking sites.
said, SideStep needs more inventory, meaning more pages against
which to sell targeted advertising. In addition, the expectation is
that referral fee income will rise, as well, as the tie TripUp
members brings to SideStep and beyond to booking sites.
the acquisition in a big-picture sense, as well, essentially saying
SideStep is in step with Web trends toward more community
On the Web, he
said, "the first thing was online agencies, then came the search
engines... and the next thing is the notion of the social
It's been a "subtle
revolution," he said. Previously, he continued, travelers had to
rely on published sources for their information, a method that has
limitations, but "now they can tap into the knowledge of
For SideStep, he
noted, this has meant moving from being only a travel search
company, addressing the consumer's budget considerations, to
becoming a resource for the same consumer as he plans trip
To that end,
SideStep last year purchased TravelPost.com, described as the Web's largest
independently owned hotel review community. Buying TripUp is the
next step in a progression that, he said, lets SideStep "provide
unique information and help people have better trips."
contact the reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail to Nadine
Godwin at [email protected].