Sabre Holdings Corp. revealed this week that it acquired online travel community IgoUgo.com in February for an undisclosed price. The acquisition ultimately allows Sabre to earn income from travel-related companies that bid on keywords used by consumers.
Since acquiring IgoUgo, Sabre's development staff has built into the site a travel-keyword search engine that can search either the site or the Web, allowing Sabre to deliver paid search results and generate new revenue, a company spokeswoman says. Sabre also is looking at ways to integrate IgoUgo's travel journals and photos into the information it presents on Travelocity.com in response to consumer travel inquiries. IgoUgo has 300,000 journals and 200,000 photos posted by individual travelers from more than 4,000 destinations around the world.
Norm Rose, principal of Travel Technology Consulting and an analyst for travel research firm PhocusWright, says firsthand information from members of travel communities is becoming increasingly crucial to those researching future travel.
"It's essential for Travelocity to have that kind of platform to integrate into the product," Rose says. "The influence of community ratings, particularly on hotels, helps consumers choose the right property for their needs."
Content from IgoUgo will help Travelocity improve customer loyalty, Rose says. Travelers who, for instance, book a hotel based on information they find on Travelocity and then are disappointed with their stay might not use Travelocity again. The addition of reviews from travelers increases the odds that the property won't disappoint, he says.
Sabre also plans to add a "travel experts" feature that will let visitors access travel-agent expertise on particular destinations.