Voyij.com, a meta search site founded by former Sidestep executives which sources deals and offers, is hoping to have a UK presence as early as next year.
The site launched in the US this week. A spokesperson told Travolution: “We are very focused on building a comprehensive deals and sales site for US first before we tackle international markets. As for a version where the departing city is somewhere in the UK, that will likely be further out into early 2010.”
It will also start selling UK destination to its US customer base this summer. The launch version focuses on destinations in North America and the Caribbean.
The voyij.com team is made up of five former execs from Sidestep, the vertical search site which was bought by kayak for $200m toward the end of 2007. Voyij has built its own search engine, which contacts partner web sites and picks up all the deals and special offers. What we’ve done certainly isn’t impossible, but it has taken a serious focus for nearly a year to really develop a site that works well in categorizing and returning relevant results, a spokesperson said.
“The main challenge is that deals and sales are far more unstructured in their format, making it much more difficult to organize and categorize than a real-time inventory search that tends to return highly structured content. We’ve had to spend a lot of time normalizing the data to make it searchable in a consistent way,” a spokesperson continued.
“The site is funded by the co-founders and family and friends, although it is currently looking to raise a seed round of funding. Its business model is similar to other lead generation sites: As travel is the largest e-commerce category, there is no shortage of ways to monetize visits affiliate CPA, CPC and advertising.
“Its decision to focus on deals and offers came in response from the teams experience in the industry but also as consumers. We all saw the need for this type of tool. We spent time talking to others in the travel industry as well as consumers explaining the concept. We were met with a universal response of that’s a great idea, why hasn’t anyone done it?”