Expedia Inc.'s TripAdvisor acquired
deal-publisher and travel search company Smarter Travel Media for
an undisclosed sum, TravelWeekly.com has learned.
And, in a separate
deal around the same timeframe in mid-February, TripAdvisor also
acquired SeatGuru.com, a Seattle company that specializes in
providing information for road warriors about airline seats on more
than 40 airlines.
spokesman Brian Payea confirmed the unannounced purchases of both
Media has about 50 employees and is headquartered in Boston, about
19 miles from TripAdvisor headquarters in Needham, Mass.
Payea said the
acquisition of Smarter Travel Media gives TripAdvisor new
capabilities in offering travel search functions, expert advice and
Media operates several Web sites, including SmarterTravel.com, Booking Buddy and
Payea said there
have been no major changes in the operations of TripAdvisor and
Smarter Travel Media as of the recent acquisition as there has been
no integration between the two companies.
There also has been
no integration yet with SeatGuru, which, together with
MyBusinessTravel.com, will give Expedia and TripAdvisor an opening
to pursue the frequent flyer and unmanaged business travel
The purchase of
Smarter Travel likely will lead to changes in TripAdvisors' core
advertising practices, which revolve around ads from online
agencies and suppliers -- primarily hotels -- that are tied to
user-generated reviews. When SmarterTravel gets integrated,
TripAdvisor's advertisers may get expanded reach through
deal-oriented newsletters and travel search offerings.
The Smarter Travel
companies are heavily involved in deal publishing and facilitated
searches. With the latter search methodology, consumers input their
travel dates and then choose among individual search engines from
companies like Orbitz, Expedia, Kayak, SideStep, Travelocity,
Hotwire, Priceline or CheapTickets to complete their research or to
The Smarter Travel
Web sites also offer travel guides, news and advice, among other
Informed of the
acquisitions, Forrester Research analyst Henry Harteveldt said
Expedia's market muscle likely will invigorate Smarter Travel,
enabling it to better compete against other travel search engines
and deal publishers, including Travelzoo.
He also noted that
the acquisition of SeatGuru.com would better enable Expedia Inc.
units to target unmanaged business travelers.
contact reporter Dennis Schaal, send e-mail to [email protected].