TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Yahoo Travel Lets Users Help Each Other Plan Trips

Yahoo Travel Lets Users Help Each Other Plan Trips ((
Wed, 26 Oct 2005 11:02:07 -0500

By Eric Auchard

Yahoo Inc. , the world's most popular Internet media network, is
looking to up-end the online travel industry by helping its users
share planning tips, photos and travel lore with fellow travelers.

On Wednesday, Yahoo said it plans to offer tools that turn Yahoo
Travel from a reliance on professionally
created content into an online travel guide that encourages users to
publish and share their itineraries.

"We are creating much more of a platform around which people can
participate," James Slavet, general manager of the Yahoo Marketplace
business unit, which include the company's travel operation, said in a
phone interview.

The site's Trip Planner tool enables users to research, publish and
share personalized itineraries, both with friends and family, or,
optionally, as public guides for travelers headed to the same
destination to use for their own planning.

"Anywhere you travel, there are people who have traveled there before
you," Slavet said.

At its core, the Yahoo Travel site acts as a tool to pull together all
the loose strands of a travel plan, from potential destinations, to
flights, hotels, activities, calendars and maps, all designed to be
shared with others if so desired.

The system allows the user to create personalized maps of all the key
locations on one's itinerary, for example.

Wrapped around this are options to make it easier for users to share
digital travel photos, participate in travel-related message boards,
or contribute user reviews and ratings, among other features.

The travel site incorporates user-contributed travel photos, organized
by location or other categories, via Flickr the phenomenally popular
photo sharing site that Yahoo acquired earlier this year. The site
also includes a database of vacation home rentals supplied by their

Yahoo Travel boasts nearly 500,000 hotel or vacation activity options
in 40,000 destinations worldwide.

For now, user contributions are focused on the pre-planning of trips.

Eventually, Yahoo hopes to incorporate more features that will help
users chronicle their journeys using the Internet, mobile phones and
digital cameras to contribute travelogues, on the fly, as it were,
Slavet said.

Yahoo Travel could also act as a repository for post-trip photo
collections and other remembrances, serving to create a rich vein of
user experiences for new travelers to incorporate in their own
planning, a sort of next-generation travel guide.

Copyright 2005 Reuters Limited.

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