New CondeNet Travel Site Woos Vacation Planners




CondeNet is gearing up for the Aug. 17 launch of Concierge.com, a new travel content and booking destination site, which will be supported by a $5 million traditional and online campaign.
New York-based CondeNet’s existing travel site, Epicurious Travel, will merge with Concierge.com and cease to exist. The new site will feature content from Conde Nast Traveler magazine, allowing users to buy Traveler subscriptions at a discount.
CondeNet director Sarah Chubb claims CondeNet has had great success creating “very deep, very vertical sites” that attract, and keep, the attention of upscale consumers.
Epicurious Travel has used Microsoft’s Expedia travel booking service for more than a year, but CondeNet has not confirmed whether Expedia will remain the booking engine for the new Concierge.com. The site will marry some booking service – to be chosen later this month – with content from Traveler, Frommer’s Travel Guides and Fodor’s Travel Publications on more than 500 travel destinations.
In addition to Conde Nast Traveler features such as “Room with a View,” which promotes a hotel by allowing users to experience the view out of a room window, the site will include hotel and restaurant reviews, photo galleries, weather information, interactive maps, special event listings, user discussions, travel advice, currency conversions and links to related Web sites.
Chubb said the site marks CondeNet’s attempt to corner the online travel planning audience, claiming that smaller sites offer content but not booking capabilities, and reservation sites don’t have deep content.
Advertising will play a major role on Concierge.com. “We’ve had a lot of success with travel as an ad sales vehicle,” Chubb said. “It’s close to being sold out all the time on [Epicurious] Travel.”
There will be sponsorship opportunities, though she noted that advertising will not be integrated into content as “the upscale consumer knows better.” Companies that have advertised on Epicurious Travel include Deja News, Radisson, Chase, Procter & Gamble’s Dryel and Pert Plus, Cadillac Escalade and Fidelity.
An ad campaign promoting Concierge.com by Robaire and Hogshead, Venice, Calif., will include online banners, radio spots, magazine and newspaper ads and outdoor. Media buying for the campaign, due to launch in September, is being handled by CIA VSM Media, New York.