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The Internet and Trip Planning

Boot Camp feature for Monday, December 29, 2008

The Internet and trip planning...go hand in hand. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. Whether it's for a winter vacation....or planning ahead for the summer....it's almost hard to imagine planning a trip today without turning to the Internet. And the more a site called TripAdvisor.com has grown...the more valuable it has become. If user generated content is the big thing on the Web today... eight year old TripAdvisor...was a pioneer. Founder and CEO Stephen Kaufer...

"We came at the travel category with being unsatisfied with the amount of information that was out on the Web that would really help consumers make an informed decision. We came along in 2000 so there were plenty of opportunities to book a hotel, but nothing really out there that would give you the true sense from other real travelers around the world as to whether the place was any good. And it's a tough problem to crack because ...how do you get started. You sort of have an empty site and you have to build slowly. And that's kind of what we did and we're up to 20 million opinions now."

Seeing pictures of hotel rooms taken by travelers...and not those provided by the hotel itself...can be revealing sometimes. The motto of the site, now part of Expedia....is get the truth...then go. In 2008...TripAdvisor launched a philanthropic campaign....giving away a million dollars to travel related charities voted upon by users. The biggest vote getter...was Doctors Without Borders. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.