Travora Wants First Class Seat to Consolidation in Online Travel

10/30/12Follow @jpruth

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a different kind of tour, she says.

The Travora dashboard shows local times, currency exchange rates, and local happenings that travelers might have missed otherwise. Sometimes travelers can be shocked by what they find at their destinations. Forte says she could have used Travora a few years ago on a family trip to the Caribbean island of Saint Martin—in the midst of a dengue fever outbreak. “I probably could have gone to the [Center for Disease Control] website ahead of time but I don’t check there for all my destinations,” she says.

Travora generates revenue through advertising as well as sponsorships. Parent company Travora Media previously raised more than $30 million from backers including Rho Ventures, Village Ventures, StarVest Partners, Austin Ventures, and Tenaya Capital. Forte says she may seek additional funding to help scale up Travora.com, which would include a social feature with recommendations and real-time information shared by users who are traveling.

She believes Travora can attract travelers by tying together reviews, along the lines of TripAdvisor, more closely with social recommendations on travel, akin to what services such as Trippy and Gogobot offer.

With so many players offering different content and services to the travel sector, Forte expects mergers and buyouts may be in the offing. She points to TripAdvisor’s acquisition early this month of Pinterest-like travel recommendation site Wanderfly as an example. “The travel vertical reminds me a lot of the [online] health vertical 15 years ago,” she says. “Huge consolidation is going to take place in travel.”

Forte has seen how mergers and reshape an industry. Prior to becoming CEO of Travora Media in fall 2011, she worked for more than a decade at online health information service WebMD where she recently served as chief innovation officer. She says the health sector evolved from many specialized websites into larger websites that offered multiple services. “There were sites that just informed us about drugs, and there were sites that just talked to us about our symptoms,” she says.

João-Pierre S. Ruth is the editor of Xconomy New York. He can be reached at jpruth@xconomy.com and followed on Twitter @jpruth. Follow @jpruth

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