Yahoo Travel, Trip Planner, and Travel Web Services

Yahoo combines Web 2.0 style communities, Travel search and Web Services to create one cool travel planning experience.

Now when you search for travel related terms on Yahoo, you’ll be served one box result that taps into Yahoo’s FareChase.

Yahoo! FareChase (which is now in general availability) is a travel search engine that searches across many airline sites like AA.com, hotel sites like Sheraton.com, and on-line travel agency websites such as Orbitz.com and Cheaptickets.com, to give searchers a comprehensive set of prices and availability for flights and hotel rooms that is available on the web.

FareChase resembles offerings from similar services like Kayak but does not poll as many sources. Here’s a list of some of the travel sites that FareChase searches. Compare that to Kayak’s airline and travel lists.

My favorite part of Yahoo’s new service is the community integration – Yahoo Trip Planner. Take a look at some of the features – very Web 2.0. You can share your trip, create a trip profile, receive comments on your trip, add maps, combine guides, rate trips, add photos, add a journal, and more. Tons of stuff that you will be better off playing with.

Trip Planner is a tool on Yahoo! Travel that lets you save hotels, attractions, restaurants, maps and more to a customized travel guide. You can add travel dates, your own comments, even bookmarks for other sites to your trip. Once you’ve created your trip, you can print a copy to bring with you, or access it from any computer with Internet access.

More about Trip Planner at the FAQ.

This will open different advertising opportunities as search engines continue to develop rich interfaces to aggregate information. Google has already started to experiment with Google Map advertising and Yahoo is sure to follow. Yahoo has the tools to combine their search services with community building experience and this is another product showing the collective effect of both.

Even more exciting is the release of Yahoo APIs for the new services. You can use the APIs to search for public trips by keyword or place a FareChase box on your site. By combining user generated content (trip guides and plans) with search, Yahoo is doing what other search engines aren’t – smart search with community input. This type of search is a review based search and I can see this extending to Yahoo’s already huge base of content and reviews. I bet we see similar things coming for movies, shopping, real estate, music, etc. Product data combined with user reviews will be huge.

Sidenote: I’d like to see something like this for blog comments. (Not coComment)