Latest TravelPod News
Mar 2, 2017
Mar 2.2017 TripAdvisor is to close the Travelpod platform – the second axing of one its consumer content brands in the space of two months. An official confirmed the fate of the 20-year-old company to Tnooz this week after speculation emerged that the Travelpod service would be heading down the same path as sister site VirtualTourist . There is no timeline available as yet for the closure of Travelpod. The official says the TripAdvisor “made the difficult decision to close TravelPod to focus on areas of our business that have stronger growth potential”. “We appreciate the contributions our users have made over the years and are working on ways to help them retain access to content they have shared.” Travelpod was one of the earliest “blogging” platforms on the web, created in 1997 in Canada by Luc Levesque as a means for travellers to record their travels in diary form, upload photos and catalogue their adventures over multiple trips. The brand received a huge amount of attention in the late-2000s when it created the addictive Traveler IQ Challenge – a web game (and later Facebook app) where users had to accurately identify the location of destinations on a map. In November 2005, just ahead of its acquisition by TripAdvisor (when the review giant was still owned by Expedia Inc), it claimed to have 20,000 members. Despite a noticeable downturn in marketing activity (its Facebook and Twitter pages have been silent since January; it hasn’t posted any blogs of its own since last summer), the site claims to have added almost 38,000 new “experiences” in the last seven days. Levesque left TripAdvisor, where alongside his Travelpod duties he’d also been given the role of vice president of growth, in January 2016 to join Facebook as director of product management. The closure of Travelpod comes just days after the VirtualTourist site was switched off. VirtualTourist, one of the first brands focused on providing online guides to travellers, was part of the TripAdvisor subsidiary Smarter Travel Media , a home to a number of high-profile content sites. Other brands included in the portfolio include content sites CruiseCritic, AirfareWatchdog and HolidayWatchdog, as well as booking brands Tingo and Jetsetter. The site’s closure, announced in January, was also put down to a refocusing of STM’s strategy “on the areas of our business that have stronger growth potential”. VirtualTourist members were given two months to download their content from the site before it was switched off at the end of February this year. TripAdvisor did not mention Facebook this time in its background on the closure (VirtualTourist had suffered as a result of the rise of sites such as the social networking giant, an official had said in January), but comparisons can be made once again. Facebook (and to a lesser extent, Instagram) has effectively managed to become the platform of choice for people to share and document their travels. Without a significant user acquisition programme, Travelpod and similar services face an uphill struggle to attract new travellers or lure people away from Facebook and other sites.