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Sabre acquires IgoUgo online travel community

Sabre Holdings has announced that it has acquired, a unique travel community Web site…

Sabre Holdings has announced that it has acquired, a unique travel community Web site. It has also launched the industry`s first travel keyword search engine on the newly acquired site. The combination of keyword travel search capabilities with a large base of passionate, first-hand traveller experiences provides consumers with a unique one-stop research and planning guide specifically designed for travel.

IgoUgo is one of the world`s leading online travel communities. Built entirely around the concept of real travelers sharing honest opinions, IgoUgo has more than 350,000 members who communicate by writing and posting travel journals and photos of their experiences. To date, the site includes more than 300,000 of these journals and 200,000 photos, covering more than 4,100 destinations around the globe. IgoUgo has licensed out its community to various travel companies, including Resort Condominiums International; the Travel Channel, a part of Discovery Communications; Rough Guides, a travel-guidebook series owned by Penguin Group Ltd., a division of Pearson Ltd.; and numerous European tourism boards.

Unlike existing travel price comparison search engines, IgoUgo`s new search engine does not provide price-based results. Instead, it improves the relevancy of keyword search results when the consumer is conducting research and planning on the Web. The feature removes the clutter of responses that are not travel-related associated with the general search engines like Google and MSN. As an example, when a consumer enters the keyword java, the search engine only returns travel-related Web results for Java, Indonesia, and filters out the thousands of results related to coffee or the computer operating system. This enables the consumer to spend less time thinking about what additional keyword qualifiers are necessary to gain only travel-related results.

Developing a keyword search engine specifically for travel is a natural extension of Sabre`s 30-plus years of experience in travel search technology, said Eric J. Speck, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Sabre Holdings. We have used the skills of a very talented group of mathematicians who have expertise in solving complex travel-related algorithms to create this new search engine. Sabre Holdings plans to enhance the capabilities of the keyword search engine and then combine it with the plethora of real-time information in the Sabre system to enhance offerings from the company`s other businesses, including Travelocity and Sabre Travel Network.

The enhanced IgoUgo site will enable Sabre to participate in the growth in paid search advertising. A recently published report from market analyst Jupiter Research predicts significant growth in keyword search. The report is based on findings that 79 percent of the $2.6 billion spent on paid search in the last year in the U.S. fits into four categories – retail, financial services, media and entertainment, and travel.

A `Travel Experts` feature will soon be added to IgoUgo that will allow consumers to gain additional travel insight from travel agents with destination-specific qualifications, said Speck. Many Sabre Connected travel agents are uniquely qualified to participate because of their destination expertise. We hope to use their knowledge by incorporating it into the IgoUgo community to benefit travellers and generate leads for the agents, as well.

With the new keyword travel search capabilities, consumers can quickly gain insights into travel possibilities from anywhere on the Web and access IgoUgo`s rich and unbiased content regarding specific destinations and other travel ideas. Additional enhancements are to be added making it easier for travellers to navigate between the keyword search and member content, and extensive usability tests will be conducted to continuously improve travellers` experiences with the site.

Theodore Koumelis
Co-Founder & Managing Director - Travel Media Applications | Website

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.