yahoo 300x214 Yahoo!7 launches new travel portal...Yawn!Yahoo!7, the Australian arm of the Yahoo web empire, today announced the launch of its new online travel destination, Total Travel, which includes extensive accommodation listings, destination guides and travel reviews from users’ friends and peers. 

Total Travel was acquired last year by Yahoo!7, and the new site now combines the company’s comprehensive listing information together with the technology and content of the Yahoo!7 Network. 

In addition, the site will roll out new search capabilities allowing users to filter search results by accommodation star rating, type of accommodation, recommendations from others, and a “My Travel” function which allows users to track and share where they have been, which destinations are next on their travel wish lists and see where their friends are going.

Yahoo!7 CEO Rohan Lund said he believed Total Travel could become the leading travel planning resource for Australians:

“We want to inspire our audience to travel, help them research places to stay, things to do, restaurants to visit, and then we want to help them share those experiences with other travellers when they get home.  Our philosophy is to make it easier to connect to the people, information and content that matter most.”

According to Yahoo!7 Audience Director, Kath Hamilton: “The Totaltravel site will set a new standard for online travel.  Our research shows that being able to track the opinions of others plays an important role in how consumers select their next holiday, especially regarding accommodation.  Totaltravel now utilises Yahoo!7’s ratings and reviews technology to help foster this sense of community among Australian travellers.”

While the new site will definitely be a strong challenger, there doesn’t appear to be anything new here.

When you consider that Australia has an amazing travel-based tech startup community including companies like semantic flight search engine Adioso, Innovative travel Q&A site, Travellr and Travel-partner search site Globetrooper, I can’t help but think that Yahoo!7 has come to the party late, and with a site that’s already behind the curve.

Then again, adding value to the modern traveller may not really be at the core of Total Travel business model, if comments from Lund in the official press release are anything to go by:

“What we’re offering is a specialist travel destination which delivers quality and pre-qualified consumers who are ready to spend,” said Rohan Lund.  “The new Totaltravel site presents tremendous opportunity for our existing and potential industry partners, enabling travel operators to create and maintain direct customer relationships.”

No doubt there’ll be some money in this for Yahoo!7, but if I was one of the local travel startups I’d be loving the fact that Yahoo has displayed an interest in acquisitions in the space and that their current offering has massive holes

Could be some interesting news in the coming months…

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