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Yahoo! Gets Trippy

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Yahoo! continues to bank on social media and user-generated content as a means to capture eyeballs as the company officially launched its Trip Planner service today after months of beta testing.

Part of the over all Yahoo! Travel service, Trip Planner allows users to create their own printable travel guide based on places they’ve been. This includes photo sharing through photographic journals, day-by-day itineraries, and hotel and restaurant reviews. Visitors can also rate the travel plans.

Yahoo! is cross-promoting the launch by partnering with MasterCard. Users can register for the Great Trip Planner Ticket Giveaway by creating a Trip Plan and submitting it to the site. MasterCard will be giving away two airline tickets per day for winning entries. Pay-per-click advertising is also being offered to travel companies like Expedia and Orbitz to help monetize the site.

The company says that over 20,000 Trip Plans are viewable through Trip Planner and have been placed on an interactive map. The map points out locations around the world with Ajax pop-up conversation boxes. Trips are also featured on the homepage, like these for Japan (beware that train ride from Yokohama to Kyoto; it’s a long one) and Seattle.

“Just as other Yahoo! social search products like Flickr, Yahoo! Answers, del.icio.us, and MyWeb have created a platform for sharing information between users, Trip Planner is about offering a way for travelers to benefit from sharing their travel experiences,” said Jasper Malcolmson, director of Yahoo! Travel.

Yahoo! will integrate the Yahoo! Network as well. Searchers can type in keywords like “Las Vegas trips” into the Yahoo! Search Bar and return Trip Planner results. Yahoo! Travel Guides and FareChase are also integrated.

A feature like this also adds opportunities for tourist destinations as well. Not only could a pay-per-click campaign be launched in association with it, but a well-done USG travel plan that includes your B&B could be worth the cost, which is nothing. Indirect promotional ideas could work also. Expect to see signs in Gatlinburg reading “mention our shop on Yahoo! Trip Planner and receive a free potpourri basket.”

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Yahoo! Gets Trippy
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