Savannah Company Launches Travel Website - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

01/04/05

Savannah Company Launches Travel Website

Savannah-based Travelot has launched a new website to match travelers with low airfares. "We're trying to develop a best-of-breed online travel service, where we can provide the lowest fares and the most deals online," said the company's Bob Isaacson.

The company doesn't sell tickets and hotel rooms, but links to sites that do. "We don't try to bias the content, we just try to get people to the lowest fares, the best deals possible, and the sites that we send them to pay us for that traffic that we generate."

Travelot says that it's an early adopter of new search technology which will enable it to search the entire web for the lowest fares.

"There's been a change in the way that you can search for airfares that wasn't available until just recently," said Isaacson. "And so we're one of the first to license this technology from Kayak Software, and it allows you to search the suppliers' databases directly in addition to the aggregators like Orbitz, Expedia, Travelocity."

The company plans to expand through a network of what it calls destination agents in other cities, individuals who can put local travel deals online to increasingly localize destinations found through Travelot.

"If you lived in Milwaukee and you were coming to Savannah, it made more sense to do business with the travel agent that lived in Savannah than Milwaukee," said Isaacson. "The local agent knows more about Savannah."

Thanks to the internet, it works both ways. "Not only is it more logical to reverse the [travel agent] model to use a destination agent, but it was more practical because of the internet," said Isaacson. "It doesn't matter if the agents three blocks away or 3,000 miles away. So the internet is what enables the entire process."

And they're hoping a two-year deal with CNN.com will attract travelers--and destination agents--from all over. Travelot has two prominent ad units on the home page, including one that lets travelers enter their destination to pre-populate the information on the Travelot site.

"We're in front of a huge audience, we've got something like over 15 million people a day that see our banners," said Isaacson.

Which are some big numbers for a small Savannah company.

Reported by: Charles Gray, cgray@wtoc.com

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