We launched UpTake to make the entire travel planning process easier and we started with the specific goal of improving the first step in the travel planning process – helping consumers decide where to go, where to stay and what to do. With our new Series B investment led by Trinity Ventures, we will build on the progress we achieved since our Series A investment from Shasta Ventures and accelerate our growth.
How do we plan to grow? First, we will expand our search offering beyond UpTake Hotels into new categories including: UpTake Lodging, UpTake Things to Do, UpTake Restaurants and UpTake Beaches. Second, we will improve our ability to deliver travel recommendations based on our analysis and filtering of collective intelligence and on consumers’ specific travel preferences. Lastly, when it makes sense, we will accelerate our growth through acquisitions.
We solve information overload to help you make decisions with confidence
We know from external research and internal consumer studies that the primary challenge for you (“you” being the quintessential consumer traveler more interested in your trip experience then the absolute lowest price) in deciding where to go, where to stay and what to do is that there is too much information scattered across too many sources. And when you can’t find a trusted friend who has been there before to give you advice, you turn to web search and swim through that ocean of unorganized, fragmented information to find the relevant bits of information you need. A Google study shows the average traveler completes 12 searches and visits 22 sites before booking. For every search for flights you might do, you will do ten more searches on what to do, where to stay, where to eat, etc. You also want much more then prices, you want photos, maps, descriptions, reviews et al. This translates to approximately 10 billion travel-related web searches annually.
At UpTake, we are solving this information overload problem. We have aggregated 20 million opinions and information from over 1,000 web sites on 400,000 products and organized it to help you find everything in one place.
We recommend based on understanding collective intelligence
Our approach is unique. Like Google, we aggregate all the existing information we can find (but unlike Google, we just do travel).
However, we have a better understanding of the aggregated information so we can organize and present it better (e.g. romantic hotels, kid-friendly things to do). How? That’s a long explanation. The short version is that we extract sentiments and metadata from reviews, descriptions, blogs, articles so we can recommend specific options tailored to your preferences – and explain why we are making the recommendation.
We are complementary to existing travel companies
We specifically built our product and our business to be complementary with the travel industry. We are an information search application that aggregates and analyzes travel information, displays the most relevant abstracts with the information provider’s brand displayed, and drives free, qualified leads to the information provider when the consumer wants more than we display. As a search company, we are not a content creator, a “destination site,” a community site, a content publisher, a trip organizing site, or a booking engine. We simply help people search existing travel information to make better decisions.
Because of our complementary approach, a number of information providers wanted us to display more of their information, faster. That’s why we created our Content Partner Program – so that you can send us feeds rather then wait for us to crawl your site. Let us know if you want to participate.
We are looking forward to improving travel search over the next few years, if you would like to partner with us, just have a few questions, or would like to send feedback please email me (yen at uptake.com).
p.s. we are looking to add a few, very talented data, search and application engineers to our team – please send along folks you think would be a good fit; thanks in advance!