PlanetEye officially launched its new travel planning service, which combines extensive travel content, booking, mapping, and geotagged photo sharing. PlanetEye aims to be a one-stop travel destination, where users can prepare for a vacation, book it, and share their experiences after returning from the trip. To provide all of this, PlanetEye has partnered with TraveloCity, OpenTable, StubHub, WaySpa, and Microsoft.Today, the Toronto-based travel site
Travel Packs and Content
While the focus for many travel sites has been on providing just one service, be it guidebook content, booking, or photo sharing, PlanetEye aims to bring all of this together. The central focus of the service is the so called "Travel Pack," where users can store content they clip from anywhere on the site. That content could be one of the geotagged images that appear on PlanetEye's Microsoft powered maps, an article about a local sight, or a restaurant review.
Even though PlanetEye is still a very young site, it already features a lot of exclusive content. While its hotel and restaurant database pretty much covers every possible destination world-wide, the best content on PlanetEye is written by its Local Experts, though this is only available for some of the most popular destinations like Rome or San Francisco.
PlanetEye has licensed technology from Microsoft's World-Wide Media eXchange program, which powers its maps. Indeed, PlanetEye's maps are, besides the Travel Pack, one of PlanetEye's most useful features in planning a trip, as they are directly coupled with its database of restaurants, sights, and geotagged images, all of which are dynamically updated as your scroll through the map. One other nice aspect of these maps is that they are always interactive, no matter where they appear on the site.
One feature that is still missing from PlanetEye is a mobile interface. PlanetEye features a lot of good travel content that could be very useful during a trip, but its interface doesn't lend itself easily to browsing on a mobile phone. According to PlanetEye, a mobile version will be released this year.
A lot of features on PlanetEye are similar to those of other recent start-ups in this space, including Tripwolf, TravelMuse, and NileGuide. None of these services, however, combine all of them together into one package the way PlanetEye does. The only service that comes relatively close to PlanetEye's feature set is TripAdvisor, though PlanetEye puts a lot more emphasis on mapping and its user interface is a lot more fluid and flexible.