Travel Trends – TripAdvisor, Email, Weekend Sherpa, ChaCha

TripAdvisor – Travel review giant TripAdvisor has acquired another travel website in VirtualTourist. While VirtualTourist has a slightly different audience than TripAdvisor, the basic concept behind both sites is similar. At this point, it appears that TripAdvisor will let VirtualTourist continue on its own path. As we have stated previously on the Travel 2.0 blog, consolidation within this space has only been a matter of when, rather than if. And with so many new, niche online travel sites launching (what seems like) daily, we should continue to see further consolidation for the near future.

- A new survey from Direct Partners shows that email is the most popular form of direct response marketing. E-mail is used primarily by 35 percent of companies compared to 25 percent that use traditional direct mail and 21 percent that use promo packages, statement stuffers or freestanding inserts. Certainly not a surprise, but confirmation that you are receiving more junk mail via your inbox than your mailbox.

Weekend Sherpa – Last week, I received a call from Emily at Outside Magazine for a piece about new technology / websites for travel planning. During our call, she brought two new websites to my attention, Weekend Sherpa and ChaCha. Weekend Sherpa takes a simplified look at a travel recommendation website by getting back to basics…the site is simply an email / email sign-up form to receive a weekly email about what to do in Northern California. No more, no less. Simple, easy and straight to the point.

ChaCha – Again, another site that is so simple, but so useful. Send a text to the ChaCha service, receive a text answer. Near a hotel, looking for a specific restaurant or attraction, text and receive the answer. The service is meant for any question, but the applications for travel specific questions and information are very intriguing.

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