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Leading Travel Publisher Adopts Web 2.0 For Travel Guides

MairDumont, Europe's largest travel guide publisher, has put information on more than 200,000 destinations and points of interest online for free.
MairDumont, Europe's largest travel guide publisher, has put information on more than 200,000 destinations and points of interest online for free through a social travel guide Web site.

Tripwolf was released to the U.S. market earlier this month. The site provides professional editorial content as well as user-generated content. MairDumont, which publishes Baedeker, Dumont, and Marco Polo guides, backs the site. Tripwolf said its decision to put all of its editorial content online is unprecedented.

The guides span the globe with a primary focus on European destinations. Tripwolf provides tips and recommendations for U.S. travelers trying to stretch their dollars while overseas. It features professional and personal travel photos, videos, and third-party content from sites like Wikipedia, Flickr, and YouTube. It also allows users to create and print personalized travel guides for their trips.

The site has embraced Web 2.0 interactive technology, with Facebook integration, portable data, a Wiki system that allows users to add and update information, trip gurus who provide local advice, community features, an intuitive interface, geo-coding, travel blogs with route maps and ratings for points of interest and hotels. It is available in English and German.

It will also have an iPhone application, and flight and hotel booking options.

JupiterResearch has found that 42% of online travelers review opinions of fellow travelers by referring to user-generated content. Sebastian Heinzel, co-founder and CEO of tripwolf said that 70% of travelers ask friends and relatives for recommendations and tripwolf encourages them to do so online, by allowing users to import Facebook profiles and friends.

"Travelers want to get the best out of their trips, so they ask trustworthy sources," Heinzel said in an announcement. "We aim to be a 'one-stop shop' for travelers. We want to be the leading international travel 2.0 guide."

MairDumont, based near Stuttgart, Germany, is the leading travel publisher in Europe. Publisher Stephanie Mair-Huydts said the company uses all the advantages of the Internet and Web 2.0 by combining its expertise with the experience of thousands of travelers.

Heinzel and Alexander Trieb, travelers from Vienna, created tripwolf. It launched in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland in June. MairDumont and i5invest, a technology incubator, are the primary investors.

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