Yahoo! unveils full FareChase tool and changes to Travel Europe

Search engine giant Yahoo! has completed the Beta test of its FareChase system in the US and rolled out a full working product for users.

The price comparison tool for travel products is similar to the Kelkoo system already integrated into Yahoo! Europe.

The announcement in the US has coincided with a busy period for Yahoo! in Europe following the introduction of changes to its European travel portal.

Yahoo! is hoping the official launch of FareChase will enable users to use Yahoo! as a single source for researching travel products, rather than the need for multiple online searches.

US director of Yahoo! Travel Jasper Malcolmson said: “This is the first time a search engine for travel pricing and a search engine for travel experiences have come together in a single product.

“The new Yahoo! FareChase will help people plan better triops with access to the most relevant real-time information.”

Consumers using Yahoo! Search in the US will now be displayed a mixture of prices at the top of results to a query, alongside a pre-populated search form to include airport departure and arrival points.

The Kelkoo service was bought by Yahoo! in 2004 and has been successfully integrated into the Yahoo! Europe portal.

General manager for Yahoo! Travel in Europe, Tim Frankcom, said: “Yahoo! is a global company with a strong focus on addressing the needs of its local users.

“As such we continue to review and share best practice across markets and we believe that by sharing our technological expertise and innovative ideas we can build the best possible travel service for users and advertisers in local markets.”

In Europe the new Yahoo! Travel portal has been broken up into four separate areas for users, covering a travel search function, Lonely Planet content area, special offers and display advertising.

The site will also track a user’s behaviour online by displaying top offers and images, such as romantic breaks or seasonal offers. It is hoped these tools will encourage bookings straight to the advertiser.

Frankcom added: “The travel guide sponsorship placements we introduced last year have already proved very popular attracting a range of advertisers from online travel agents like to tourist boards including the Spanish Tourist Board and international airlines such as British Airways.

“By adding more direct access to images, we believe we can inspire more users to engage with these destinations providing an even better return on investment for the sponsor.”

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