Booking travel online isn’t anything new, of course. In fact, it’s one of the most profitable Web enterprises undertaken with huge sites like Expedia (dot commmmm) and Travelocity being some of the more profitable sites on the Internet. So what’s another travel startup?
Escapeer.com (“escape pier”) isn’t just a hotel and air travel booking site. It’s not all about car rentals either. Instead, this startup is about unique adventures from booking time at the local driving range to taking flight lessons or walking tours of your destination.
Whether you’re staying close to home, on a business trip to Manhattan, or going on vacation and looking for something different this time, you’ll probably find something on Escapeer. Currently, the site focuses on the New York City area, however, so if you’re going to Springfield or OKC, it may not be much help. The site has slowly been expanding nationally.
The startup began in 2008 with a $250,000 seed investment and entered open beta earlier this year. It builds its database of activities and information through partnerships with service providers. So if Bob’s Horseback Tours, operating in Central Park, partners with Escapeer, he can not just list his business, but also take bookings and more through the site.
This is a great enabler for the small business tired of spending hundreds a week on Yellow Pages ads that probably aren’t paying off much in today’s online marketplace.
Escapeer is based in New York City and funds itself through fee-based markups based on the service provider’s sales through the site. Bookings through the site are fully automated with the service provider receiving notice of a new booking in near real-time.