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TripAdvisor purchases Wanderfly to get more social

Travel websites beginning to capitalize on social media

Financial trends and news by Steven Loeb
October 2, 2012 | Comments
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/2a98

When I was in college I took a two and a half month trip across Europe. I visited 13 different countries, met countless people and saw so much stuff that I can barely remember it all. Sure, I have pictures, but I don't even remember where half of them were taken. Social media existed, but was not as prevalent as it is now. Travel websites are only now beginning to really capitalize on how social media can enhance their user's experience, and I sometimes wish they had done this years ago.

Travel website TripAdvisor has purchased Wanderfly, it was announced Tuesday. A TripAdvisor spokesperson would not disclose any of the terms of the deal.

Brooklyn, New York-based Wanderfly is dedicated to personalizing travel, from the planning stages to the traveling itself.

“Our premise is simple: everyone travels differently, so we all need different recommendations. We’re here to make travel planning more personal, simple, fun, human and inspiring,” Wanderfly writes on its website.

Wanderfly’s emphasis is on the social aspect of travel, and TripAdvisor seems to be going in a similar direction for the last few years, taking advantage of its users Facebook connections. From this standpoint, the acquisition makes a lot of sense.

In July 2011, TripAdvisor bought Facebook application Where I’ve Been, which allows Facebook users to put pins in a virtual map, showing where they have been and where they would like to travel.

Then, in April of this year, TripAdvisor launched its Friend of a Friend feature, which highlights reviews not just from people who you know, but friends of your Facebook friends as well. This makes it 10 times as likely that a person will see personalized travel advice, TripAdvisor said at the time. 

Newton, Massachusetts-based TripAdvisor was founded in 2000, and has become of the world’s largest travel websites. It features over 75 million travel reviews, over 1.6 million businesses, more than 600,000 hotels, and over 880,000 restaurants.  The website has over 60 million unique monthly visitors and more than 32 million members. Over 50 new contributions are posted every minute on the site.

For the quarter ending June 30, the company reported revenues of $197.1 million, an increase of 7% from the previous quarter, and an increase of 16% year to year.

Wanderfly was founded in October 2010, and has served over a half million trips to users in almost 200 different countries. The site has also added 10 user-requested trip themes and introduced a widget program for third-party sites. Wanderfly has also signed key partnerships with Hotels.com to power its hotel search engine; Quintessentially to offer customer concierge packages; and Business Traveler magazine to augment content.

Wanderfly raised $1 million in funding in February 2011 from numerous investors, including Charles River Ventures, Jason Calacanis, StartupAngel, James Bailey and Roger Dickey. The money was to be used to enhance its social features, including its user generators content and mobile applications. It was also used to syndicate Wanderfly technology on partner websites.

TripAdvisor’s stock was up .6% at the time of this writing, trading at $32.13 a share.

Wanderfly could not be reached for comment.

(Image source: http://www.9010group.com)


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