This past week Island Odyssey went live with its beta site. Normally, I would not have noticed but my brother-in-law happens to be the “Chief of Staff” for the company. Island Odyssey combines the Web 2.0 social networking with travel agencies. In a recent article in the Oregon Daily Herald,
Island Odyssey is a networking site similar to Facebook that also integrates a travel agency, allowing people to book and pay for trips on the same site. Users can also view their friends’ plans on the site through a feature similar to Facebook’s “news feed.”
“Island Odyssey is the first combination of a social network and a travel portal – essentially a Facebook mixed with an Expedia, so you can see where all your friends are traveling to,” said Zachary Lieberman, founder and chief officer at Island Odyssey. “We feel like we’re going to be a completely new market.”
Ya know, even though I poo poo most social networking sites just coming to market, I like the idea. I like the idea for a number of reasons.
- It’s an innovative twist on an established business. It’s not like they are starting a social networking site for travels and their primary revenue would be advertising. They are offering a service along with the community. Moving forward, I believe social networking will become more of a feature rather than a primary business like Facebook or MySpace. With platforms like Ning being released, it will easier for these networks to establish themselves.
- It has an innovative marketing approach by actually hiring folks on college campuses to help promote the business and accelerate growth.
- I think there is a need in the market. I know that I had a hard time trying to book trip with my friends for any events like spring break, bachelor parties, etc.
- Tommy Leahy is “Chief of Staff”
On the technology side, I think they need some work. They lack the features of most other social networking sites and lack the interesting features I would expect by combining social networking and travel. Plus, the random stack trace here and there doesn’t help. However, it’s only a beta.