The online travel market is one of clutter. There are too many Web sites aiming to book your flight, hotel and car rental bookings - charging the vendor of said service a small fee for the referral. And yet once you get to your destination, you're on your own. You're expected to play the role of research librarian and travel agent.
Peek launches today as an answer to the "what do you do when you get there" question in only California and Hawaii, for now. The company has struck up relationships with vineyards, museums, and helicopter tour outfits, to offer up more than 500 travel activities. Peek is part booking agent, part tour book. One on-staff writer and several freelancers have penned descriptions of activities. These sit alongside links to reviews from Yelp and Tripadvisor. The site also features "Perfect Day" tips from high-profile types including Tory Burch (her secrets to enjoying Oahu) and Twitter and Square co-founder Jack Dorsey (he sticks to San Francisco).
Peek gets a 15 to 30% fee every time a visitor books an activity. And co-founder Ruzwana Bashir is thinking big. She points out the travel activities market in the U.S. is $27 billion, yet there's no single destination for people to easily map out a trip plan and book it.
Bashir co-founded Peek a year ago after several years mulling over the 20 hours it once took her to book a weekend trip to Istanbul. She was on the founding team of Art.sy and there met her future investors, including Dorsey and Google chairman Eric Schmidt. Peek has raised $1.4 million from investors including SV Angel, Khosla Ventures, and angel investor Pejman Nozad.
Other sites aiming to to do parts of this include Viator.com and Trippy.com, which is a social sharing site for travel ideas. Bashir believes she's found open space in the well-traversed online travel industry. "No one has wanted to go out and build these relationships," she says. Timing, of course, is everything, and she feels good: "These vendors were less sophisticated about technology in the past. That's changed even in the last five years. Businesses now understand they need to be online."