Web Sites Cater to Group Travelers

A raft of new web sites is trying to take the hassle out of planning small surf trips and large family reunions, the Wall Street Journal reports. Sites like Triphub.com and Triporama.com act as an "e-vite" for the traveling set, where trip planners can generate online invitations to friends who can RSVP and coordinate flight and hotel plans. Organizers on Triporama can poll their friends to pick the best travel dates, while Triphub offers a trip calendar and a ledger that tracks who owes how much. Triphub and Triporama don't do any online booking, but instead provide a forum and rely on user-generated content to help facilitate trip planning. Travelers have turned to online travel agents like Expedia and Orbitz for years to book flights and hotels for individuals, couples or single families. But groups, broadly defined as those paying on more than one credit card, have been left behind because technical challenges limit the inventory of hotel rooms and airline seats that can be reserved online. Group travel also poses customer-service challenges, as groups typically have a longer decision-making process. Web sites Groople.com and GroupTravelPlanet.com have built their own reservations infrastructure that allows for large groups to reserve blocks of hotel rooms and airline and cruise tickets online. While Expedia allows as many as eight room reservations, Groople users can reserve five or 500 rooms, and travelers can pay individually. Orbitz has joined with GroupTravelPlanet.com to offer users group booking.

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