Market Sector: Online Travel Sites
Latest Entrant: Ruba
Market Analysis: Crowded. Kludgy. Disparate services scattered across myriad sites. Online travel is one of the messiest sectors in the Web information services market today. There are many solid reasons for this – huge number of carriers and destinations, federal regulations to navigate, and differing travel philosophies across cultures, to name a few – but we should be farther along in the process than we are currently. Travelers must navigate at least three types of sites just to book the basic logistics. When you throw in destination highlights and items for the itinerary, it’s enough to make the most seasoned traveler run for a travel agent and tour book. That’s not to say that we don’t see plenty of opportunity for the site that gets it right, but at this point we don’t see a complete package anywhere.
Analysis of Newest Entrant: Ruba.com is an easy-to-use, visually engaging destination source, offering mini-tour-guides in a variety of themes. Relying primarily on user-generated content, Ruba makes it super-easy to throw together your own trip highlights and share with others. It’s key advantage is integration with Facebook Connect, allowing users to post trip guides to their profile and, more importantly, source their Facebook friends for travel advice. We like that Ruba’s VP of Engineering comes from Google Chrome and that company revenue plans include partnering with sites like Orbitz and Expedia, rather than battling them. Making their mark in this crowded space, however, is going to require some super-savvy marketing and positioning tactics.