CONTINUED FROM PAGE 46
and, in some cases, connected Quin-cyites with their long-lost German
relatives. She added cruises, upped
the price and people ate it up.
“They started doing their family
trees,” Kosin said. She gets up to 50
people for the annual trip, “and it’s
not cheap,” she said.
Most of all, she said, you can’t get a
trip like this on the Internet.
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 42
Travelers can use tools to select
a per-person budget, accommodation star rating, the length of the
stay and the flight time from their
The site provides other ways to
“get inspired.” A user interested in
canoeing will find a number of articles on destinations that don’t often
appear in the ubiquitous Las Vegas-Hawaii-Cancun mix of packages offered online: Wisconsin Dells or the
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Meanwhile, the granddaddy of accommodations Web sites, Hotels
.com, is testing a search engine on
its U.K. site whose search criteria
include “I’m looking forward to this
feeling on my trip.”
Users are shown photos of a happy couple watching a sunset on a
beach, a tranquil customer luxuriating in a spa treatment, an excited
shopper and other scenarios and select the one that most closely evokes
the desired emotion. They also can
select photos of dining and room
styles and activities that appeal to
them. Based on their responses, the
“Visualizer” will suggest hotels in
the selected destination or will even
propose a destination.
Hotels.com is using technology
called VisualDNA, developed by
Imagini Holdings, a London company.
These days, the feeling too often
associated with travel is “harried.”
TripIt.com, the brainchild of Gregg
Brockway, one of the founders of
Hotwire, was created to take over
some of the tedious chores of travel,
such as organizing all those confirmation emails from airlines, hotels
and limo companies into a tidy package arranged in a logical sequence.
Like a good, self-starting assistant,
it provides additional helpful material like weather forecasts, maps and
the phone numbers that travel suppliers seldom bother to include anymore. It also takes direction: Send
it an email with the command “Get
trip” and it will send your itinerary to
your computer or mobile device.
TripIt also enables the user to book
restaurant reservations, theater tickets and activities and to check in for
flights from within the itinerary.
But TripIt isn’t an agency. It doesn’t
sell travel. It just helps. — MM