Dear IgoUgo members,
We are happy to announce that IgoUgo has been acquired by Sabre Holdings, parent company of Travelocity and Site59 and one of the world’s foremost travel innovators.
As many of you know, over the past few years we’ve tossed around many big ideas for IgoUgo but lacked the resources to implement them. With the financial backing of Sabre, however, IgoUgo.com promises to grow into the site we’ve always known it could be. This acquisition affords us not only access to Sabre’s extensive distribution channels and content sources, but also the funds to pursue longtime goals like faster site performance and the development of new kinds of content.
If you have any questions or feedback about this acquisition, please feel free to email us. And stay tuned over the next few months as we continue to roll out exciting new features for the site.
Jim Donnelly and Tony Cheng
-FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE-Contact:
Sabre Acquires IgoUgo Online Travel Community
Travel keyword search engine added to unique online travel site
SOUTHLAKE, TX – April 5, 2005 – Sabre Holdings (NYSE: TSG) today announced that it acquired IgoUgo.com, a unique travel community Web site, and launched the industry’s first travel keyword search engine on the newly acquired site. The combination of keyword travel search capabilities with a large base of passionate, first-hand traveler experiences provides consumers with a unique one-stop research and planning guide specifically designed for travel.
IgoUgo is one of the world’s leading online travel communities. Built entirely around the concept of real travelers sharing honest opinions, IgoUgo has more than 350,000 members who communicate by writing and posting travel journals and photos of their experiences. To date, the site includes more than 300,000 of these journals and 200,000 photos, covering more than 4,100 destinations around the globe. IgoUgo has licensed out its community to various travel companies, including Resort Condominiums International; the Travel Channel, a part of Discovery Communications; Rough Guides, a travel-guidebook series owned by Penguin Group Ltd., a division of Pearson Ltd.; and numerous European tourism boards.
Unlike existing travel price comparison search engines, IgoUgo’s new search engine improves the relevancy of keyword search results when the consumer is conducting research and planning on the Web. The feature removes the clutter of responses that are not travel-related associated with the general search engines like Google and MSN. As an example, when a consumer enters the keyword “java,” the search engine only returns travel-related Web results for Java, Indonesia, and filters out the thousands of results related to coffee or the computer operating system. This enables the consumer to spend less time thinking about what additional keyword qualifiers are necessary to gain only travel-related results.
“Developing a keyword search engine specifically for travel is a natural extension of Sabre’s 30-plus years of experience in travel search technology,” said Eric J. Speck, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Sabre Holdings. “We have leveraged the skills of a very talented group of mathematicians who have previously established an expertise in solving complex travel-related algorithms to create this new search engine. Sabre Holdings plans to enhance the capabilities of the keyword search engine and then combine it with the plethora of real-time information in the Sabre system to enhance offerings from the company’s other businesses, including Travelocity and Sabre Travel Network.”
The enhanced IgoUgo site will enable Sabre to participate in the growth in paid search advertising. A recently published report from market analyst Jupiter Research predicts significant growth in keyword search. The report is based on findings that 79 percent of the $2.6 billion spent on paid search in the last year in the U.S. fits into four categories – retail, financial services, media and entertainment, and travel.
Sabre acquired IgoUgo in February. Developed as an online traveler community, IgoUgo has more than 350,000 members who communicate by posting personal travel journals about their experiences. With the new keyword travel search capabilities, consumers can quickly gain insights on travel possibilities from anywhere on the Web and access IgoUgo’s rich and unbiased content regarding specific destinations and other travel ideas.
“A ‘Travel Experts’ feature will soon be added to IgoUgo that allows consumers to gain additional travel insight from travel agents with destination-specific qualifications,” said Speck. “Many Sabre Connected travel agents are uniquely qualified to participate because of their destination expertise. We hope to harness their knowledge by incorporating it into the IgoUgo community to benefit travelers and generate leads for the agents, as well.”
Additional enhancements will also be added that will make it easier for travelers to navigate between the keyword search and member content, and extensive usability tests will be conducted to continuously improve travelers’ experiences with the site.
About Sabre Holdings
Sabre Holdings, an S&P 500 company, is a world leader in travel commerce, retailing travel products and providing distribution and technology solutions for the travel industry. Sabre Holdings supports travelers, travel agents, corporations and travel suppliers through its companies: Travelocity, Sabre Travel Network, and Sabre Airline Solutions. Headquartered in Southlake, Texas, in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, the company has approximately 6,800 employees in 45 countries. Full year 2004 revenues totaled $2.1 billion. Sabre Holdings is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol TSG. More information is available at http://www.sabre-holdings.com.