NUI Galway and Tourist Republic to Make Travelling Tailor-made

Monday, 23 June 2008

NUI Galway's Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) is to develop a new intelligent trip planner in collaboration with Irish start-up Tourist Republic Ltd. The internet tool, TripPlanr, will allow travellers to plan more complex trips than existing technology allows, such as combining multiple destinations on a fixed budget and timeline. The cost of this initiative is €200,000 and has received support funding under Enterprise Ireland s Innovation Partnership programme. TripPlanr will be aimed at the more adventurous traveller who wants more than a weekend for two in one of Paris s main hotels. The technology will combine Touristr.com's traveller recommendations with information from airlines and accommodation providers, suggesting the most perfectly-attuned trip possible. Jan Blanchard, is CEO of Tourist Republic and sees huge benefits in the partnership, "We knew that to build the intelligent trip planner which we have in mind, we needed a team to rival the in-house expertise at Google or Yahoo! Through Enterprise Ireland we have this opportunity to bring our vision to reality with DERI, which is the largest Semantic Web research institute in the world". DERI's specialised expertise in Information Mining, the Semantic Web and Web 2.0 applications will allow TripPlanr to filter data and make recommendations based on the preferences of the traveller and their social network. Building on Touristr.com s existing destination review site, the new solution is expected to increase the probability of the traveller booking the targeted option suggested. According to Dr. John Breslin, Project Leader with DERI at NUI Galway, and founder of the popular online forum boards.ie, "The pre-internet problem of information deficit has been replaced with the problem of information overload. We are faced with an overwhelming surfeit of similarly sounding destination descriptions and offers. We hope to make online trip planning much more personalised by enabling networked knowledge using the latest technologies developed here at DERI." The TripPlanr project has a skilled team in place to research and develop the application, and the project is currently recruiting for web developers to join this exciting work. TripPlanr is expected to be in beta testing by the end of the year.
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