Posted by Dennis Schaal on 26 March 2010
Want to know what the ex-Expedia quartet at NewTravelco is up to?
After approaching Kayak with rumblings about the deal, Kayak CEO Steve Hafner confirmed the transaction.
And, Simon Breakwell, one of the founders of TravelNewco, confirmed the acquisition, too, but declined further comment, other than to say, “We’re not ready to discuss our plans.”
“Yes, we did sell Travelpost to NewTravelco,” Hafner says. ”We love their management team and continue to be a shareholder in the new entity.”
He didn’t provide any terms of the deal.
“I can’t say much,” Hafner says. “They have a bold vision and we’re delighted to be shareholders.”
The acquisition gives fuel to speculation that NewTravelco hopes to do combat with hotel-review website TripAdvisor, perhaps as a mobile-led play in the media/advertising business.
Maybe first impressions are overrated these days. Or maybe there are so many people, and in this case start-ups, clamoring for attention that deliberately being awful is actually quite smart.
Heck, I’m writing about it.
But for some reason, I don’t think NewTravelCo was that strategic in its plan as it rolled out a fake name and a *hopefully* even ‘faker’ blog.
Despite all the promise this start-up holds based on the laundry list of successful past ventures from talented travel industry vets at the helm, along with an intriguing recent acquisition of TravelPost from Kayak, I just can’t get over the God-awful launch site they put out there paired with an even worse temporary company name.
With a high-chair handy, I think my 18 month-old nephew could have done better chasing Cheerios all over a computer keyboard than this sorry excuse for a travel technology start-up’s first impression.
Maybe that’s harsh. But we all know it’s true.
To the person who chose that name, it was much funnier in your head and in your office at 2am than in reality.
Yet, experience and reputation will get you a long way. And maybe I’m just picking on unimportant details.
But if a tech start-up these days is worth its salt, it absolutely has to believe in building jaw-dropping core technology, great design and flawless user experience to be successful. Otherwise, in what seems to be the user-generated travel content space for NewTravelCo, you are replicable, replaceable and, most importantly in the fight for site traffic, forgettable.
I know everyone has a different style, but I guess I just don’t buy-in to the idea that having “any” presence is better than no presence at all. The former can, at times, do more harm than the latter ever could.
So, while the rest of the travel world awaits with eager anticipation, speculating via Tnooz blog comments about what these entrepreneurs are going to come out with next, I will reserve my cheers until I actually see something for which I CAN cheer.
God knows a blog “Made on a Mac” better not frickin’ be it.
Let’s just say we aren’t off to a great start… but, according to NewTravelCo, it seems first impressions no longer matter… the theory of which they likely are hoping supports the demise of their new top competitor, TripAdvisor.
Maybe the strong finish is what matters most in this game and NewTravelCo knows it… I very well could be the idiot here. It’s happened many times before. I think both Zillow.com and Glassdoor.com were genius creations, so if this start-up becomes anything similar to the travel industry as those companies are to their respective industries, I am prepared to eat my words.
But, even with the short amount of experience I have compared to what has been brought together at this new venture, I can’t fight what I know to be true… what my experience continues to tell me and why come-from-behind wins in any field get such big press and loud cheers. They are rare. But fortunately for this new spark of hope in an industry desperately in need of innovation, not impossible.
I’ve never witnessed a game of catch-up end well when you trip and fall at the start line… Unless, of course, you know you are so fast that it doesn’t matter.
So, NewTravelCo, how fast are you, exactly? 🙂