Here is an industry that you don’t see a lot of startups jumping in to. There is something about starting a travel website that scares people off. It is a huge industry, and one where customers actually spend a lot of money and the commissions, especially on something like cruises, can be massive. So, I was excited when I first started hearing rumblings about what Stuart was up to.
Enter TripHarbour, a startup led by former Chief Marketing Officer of Expedia.com and Founder of Expedia Canada, Stuart MacDonald. TripHarbour went live this morning and is probably one of the most polished launches I have seen in the last year.
Stuart and the team didn’t go in to “beta”, instead they tested the site internally as much as they could and only launched when they had a site that was shipshape. This approach makes a lot of sense when your target market is the general public (not early adopters) and if they encounter a single error or get confused even once, they may never come back.
The thing that sets TripHarbour apart from other travel sites is that it is focused exclusively on cruising. There are surprisingly few decent cruising websites and none that combine community features and cruise buying all in one. Segmenting the travel market is bound to pay off, cruising is a $21 billion dollar market, that’s enough treasure for any sailor.
Congrats to the entire TripHarbour team. Now the real hard work starts: Getting people to the site. Luckily Stuart has some experience with that, and I am going to watch closely and learn as much as I can as they get TripHarbour out there.