As accounting manager, Herb Deaton crunches numbers for Journey
House Travel in Oklahoma City, but recently he has taken to trolling
the Net in his spare moments.
Far from gawking at photos of new Tom Cruise squeeze Katie
Holmes, Deaton has been checking the Web site of an obscure New York
City firm Tralliance, which hopes to alter the shape of online
Tralliance and its marketing partner, the Travel Partnership
Corp., hold the keys to the new .travel domain name, to be launched
later this year, and 67-year-old Journey House wants a piece of the
I've been monitoring the site daily to get that as soon as they
open up, said Deaton, who also sought to raise the firm's ranking on
Google. We've got travel in our legal name (Journey House Travel
Inc.). We want to be journeyhouse.travel.
Likewise, Nancy Dunn, chairman and chief executive of Aladdin
Travel and Meeting Planners of Winston-Salem, N.C., said her firm
also would likely stake a claim to a .travel address.
That is music to the ears of Ron Andruff, a former NHL hockey
player with the Montreal Canadiens and Colorado Rockies and now
president and chief executive of Manhattan-based Tralliance. Online
travel bookings in the United States totaled $54 billion in 2005, or
23 percent of the market, but by 2009 that share is forecast to grow
to $91 billion, or 33 percent, according to a study by Jupiter
Research. But Andruff sees even bigger game in the future - global
online travel bookings of $1.5 trillion.
In April, the Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers
approved .travel and .jobs as new top-level domain names. Both
Tralliance and the Alexandria, Va.-based Society for Human Resource
Management plan to police their domains to exclude cyber-squatters
and include only legitimate organizations in their respective
industries. Exclusivity, officials say, will make the domains far
more useful than earlier efforts to extend addresses beyond .com.
Andruff said a new Web directory will help drive increased market
share for online travel services. An online tool, directory.travel,
will be rolled out along with the .travel domain name. Unlike .com
and .net addresses, which are available to all comers, the .travel
domain will be available only to travel professionals whose bona
fides are reviewed yearly.
It will allow the trade to have higher confidence when they're
conducting business with a company on the other side of the world,
Andruff said. If that person screws me, I can track them through
their association. The .travel registrants also will be cataloged
through an online directory and a list of associated keywords.
Whereas a Google or Yahoo free-text search would yield millions
of hits in a search for a five-star hotel with a golf course and spa
in San Marco, Fla., Andruff said, the directory, created by language
scientists, only will provide relevant links.
You'll get a 100 percent response rate, he added.
With a reliable directory in place, Andruff also expects far more
travel and tourism Web sites to blossom than the current 8,000
active sites. …