SideStep Gets More Dough

SideStepTravel search engine SideStep announced a $15 million Series C round. Here’s more detail on the investment and investments more generally in online travel from Matt Marshall at VentureBeat. Online travel is a “mature” and brutally competitive segment, with some recent new entrants like Farecast.

Currently online travel is worth nearly $100 billion but there’s still room for growth. Travel spending in the US by domestic and international travelers exceeds $600 billion annually.

My belief is that features built around travel will increase as sites seek to differentiate. For example, SideStep offers local activities and travel guides to destinations (not uncommon).

One of the more interesting travel offerings, Yahoo! has extensive user-generated content in its Trip Planner site. (SideStep is run by former Yahoo! Shopping exec. Rob Solomon.)

I expect that community and user-generated content will be areas of heavy growth and development on travel sites — Trip Advisor was really the pioneer in that category — this year and beyond as sites try and create loyalty in a segment with few brands.


More from Brian Smith at Search Engine Land.


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