Technology 9-29-2006

*On the Road Again
*B&B Site
*City Guide Podcasts

By: J.L. Erickson

Agrowing number of travelers are taking to the road in RVs, according to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association, which estimates nearly 8 million households or one in 12 vehicle-owning households owns an RV and is expected to reach 8.5 million in the next four years.

A new service by Bank of Internet USA offers a way for those road warriors to stay connected to their finances no matter where they are.

The FDIC-insured Internet-only savings bank has launched an online community banking site,, enabling RVers to open, manage and view their accounts online anytime, anywhere in the country.

No waiting in lines or searching around for a bank branch or ATM: Deposits can be made via direct deposit or through the mail via free, postage-paid envelopes, and withdrawals can be made by check, ATM or free bill pay. Bank of Internet will even reimburse customers up to $8 per month on non-bank ATMs.

Internet Brands Inc., an operator of media and e-commerce sites for “big ticket” consumer purchases, has acquired Bed & Breakfast Inns Online (, one of the largest directories of B&Bs in the U.S. and Canada. Founded in 1995, the average B&B listing on the site receives more than 5,000 visitors per year. Internet Brands also operates the vacation rental directories and
Audissey Guides are new downloadable, one-hour MP3 audio walking tours that combine local narrators, a hip musical score and a variety of unusual sites from hidden alleys and subway rides to local watering holes. Roby Pyles, founder of Audissey Guides, calls them “walking tours for the iPod generation.” Tours of Boston, Chicago and Seattle are available now, while Miami Beach and Hollywood, Calif., as well as New Orleans, are also in the works.
Tralliance Corp., the .travel Registry, has appointed Edward A. Cespedes as chief executive officer. Cespedes also serves as president of Tralliance Corp.’s parent company The move comes six months after the official launch of the new Internet domain dedicated to the travel and tourism industry. Since the official launch of .travel in January, 140 travel trade associations from nine industry sectors and 73 countries, have joined The Travel Partnership Corp., a Washington, D.C., nonprofit corporation formed to promote the .travel top-level domain. Tralliance estimates 50 percent of .travel domain registrations so far are from North America.
America’s Vacation Center is testing a new private-label consumer travel Web site for home-based agents. The sites allow consumers to browse or search for land packages and cruise vacations, find prices and more.

“Our sites have been carefully modeled after our own consumer Web site, designed to convert lookers into bookers,” said Brad Anderson, co-president of America’s Vacation Center. “Our unique technology allows us to integrate private label travel sites with pricing and availability, commission tracking and customer relationship management.”

Trisept Solutions, in cooperation with the 23 vacation vendors that distribute on VAX VacationAccess, has posted emergency contact information on the agency portal during hurricane season, which runs through Nov. 30. The “hurricane policies vacations” link appears on VAX VacationAccess’ home page and connects with a listing of each vacation vendor, its emergency phone numbers and hours of operation.