Yeah yeah, the credit crunch. I’m sure the travel industry suffers from it as well, but you wouldn’t say if you keep an eye on online travel services. They raise money, appoint new directors and keep launching new products. Like Tripwolf, the Austrian travel site that combines professional editorial travel tips with the usual user generated content – “OMG, you gotta eat at this restaurant! We had a lovely time and the owner was such a gentleman!!. Users can combine these different sorts of content in a free PDF travel guide. Plus there’s an iPhone app on its way.
Anyhow, these European entrepreneurs have raised $2.5 million in a funding round led by European travel publisher MairDumont Group along with investor Dieter von Holtzbrinck, a German entrepreneur who was chief of the Holtzbrinck Publishing Group for more than two decades.
In a online world filled with travel sites, why would this one manage to get a few million dollars. According to tech blogger Jason Kincaid, Tripwolf only has attracted 15,000 members since it launched in June 2008. The design isn’t spectacular either and the site is stuffed with ads.
But a closer look shows there’s an incredible amount of content (250.000 locations, city guides, recommendations and travel reports) and that the community managers do a good job in keeping the site interesting. There’s for example a photo competition going on, co-organized with pop star Dido. Things like this show that Tripwolf has a soul, and combined with great plans (like the iPhone travel guide), the travel site might actually make a difference in the online travel scene.