Travel review aggregator Kango goes live
December 19, 2007:Founded by Yen Lee, former general manager of Yahoo! Travel, Kango is a travel search and discovery application that aggregates and organizes the myriad of the internet's travel community and review sites into one place.
Travelers can now create a more satisfying vacation experience thanks to Kango. The new venture, founded by Yen Lee, former general manager of Yahoo! Travel, today announced it received a Series A round of funding of $4 million from Shasta Ventures earlier this year, and the opening of the site to its first beta users.
Kango addresses the problem of how travel research is a labor intensive, hit-or-miss exercise. Today, if a traveler knows where they want to go, they visit an online booking engine. However, if they want help about where to go and what to do, they are forced to hunt through dozens of disparate sites to glean bits of information they need for travel planning, often resulting in a time-intensive and frustrating experience.
According to a 2006 survey commissioned by MSN and conducted by Harris Interactive®, approximately three-quarters of U.S. adult respondents who have ever taken a vacation say they visit three or more Web sites when researching and/or booking their vacation plans. “The fact that three out of four vacationers spread their online research across multiple Web sites—with some visiting 10 or more—points to the huge timesaving benefits that a truly full-featured online travel planning site can deliver,” said Jim Quilty, vice president of travel and tourism at Harris Interactive.
As a travel review aggregator, Kango has aggregated and analyzed more than 20 million traveler opinions from more than 1,000 sites across the Web. The service uses natural language analysis and travel-specific term mapping to deliver reliable, relevant recommendations based on consumers’ exact requirements and preferences. This means users can now include subjective criteria like ‘romantic’ or ‘relaxing,’ or objective criteria like price and ‘internet access’ and get relevant results. For instance, Kango users looking for a romantic getaway in San Francisco will get different hotel and activity results than those looking for a family friendly vacation in San Francisco. Kango also understands consumers’ intent regardless of the terminology they use, so ‘good for kids’ is interpreted the same way as ‘child friendly’ or ‘family vacation.’ The result is a travel search application that helps travelers discover new travel choices and make better decisions.
said Paul Keung, search, ecommerce and travel analyst for CIBC World Markets. “Kango is a natural evolution for online travel because travelers are starved for better search and discovery tools and for comprehensive, trustworthy and consistent information and recommendations. When travel moved online, consumers found it more efficient to book chain hotels and flights on travel agencies like Expedia. Then community and review sites like TripAdvisor made it possible for consumers to add and browse hotel reviews. Kango enables consumers to search hotel, activity, and destination reviews from all over the web so consumers can decide what to book.”
“We started Kango to help you make better, more informed travel decisions whether you are looking for a Yosemite family vacation or a romantic getaway in Boston,” said Lee. “Kango is committed to being a comprehensive search application that delivers the head and the tail of travel from five star hotels to non-commercial results like beaches and parks. We want to help you find the right trip so you can make the most of your precious vacation time.”
Initial beta users will be able to use Kango to search for romantic or family-friendly lodging and things to do in California and Hawaii. All Kango search results are organized by their relevancy and are not altered based on paid advertisers or sponsored results.