NEEDHAM, Mass. -- TripAdvisor Inc., a new search engine
specializing in travel content, is negotiating to license its
technology to three of the top five on-line travel portals and two
CRSs, according to the company.
"We're in the term sheet phase; we're pretty far down the road,"
said chairman Langley Steinert, a former marketing vice president
of Viaweb Inc., an e-commerce site that was sold to Yahoo!.
TripAdvisor sees its technology as being a far more
comprehensive and client-specific way for agents to do travel
research on behalf of their clients.
The company launched its Web site www.tripadvisor.com Monday as a means of showcasing
the technology that it wants to license to portals and the
"One part of the Web that is drastically underserved is for
consumers or agents doing research," Steinert said.
TripAdvisor.com, which only performs searches on U.S.
destinations, claims to do a more comprehensive search of the Web
and other resources than other engines. The company's 12 editors
read and classify content from newspapers, magazines, guidebooks,
personal homepages, travelogues and user reviews.
"There is nothing like this on the market," Steinert said.
TripAdvisor is not seeking to build a new travel brand but wants
to license its patent-pending technology to portals and CRSs.
Agents and consumers can fill out a profile on the site, and
then the searches will be sorted by the criteria specified.
A start-up, TripAdvisor completed a first round of financing in
September that was led by Cambridge, Mass.-based OneLiberty
Ventures. It brought in $2 million.
Former Sabre chief executive officer Michael Durham is joining
TripAdvisor's board of advisors.
The firm held a focus group recently with 10 leisure agency
owner-managers in the New York area, Steinert said, and the
technology was well received.