Tuesday, March 21, 2000

Where do you want to Explore today?

There are a few comparisons between Microsoft and a new startup for adventure travelers. Bill Gates has "Where do you want to go today" The startup has "For all of you who seek to make your world as large as it can be, your website is ready." Gates has the Internet Explorer Web browser; the startup is called iExplore.com. One of Gates' business philosophies is to provide one-stop shopping/fully integrated solutions to software. IExplore.com aims to become "the world's first one-stop brand resource for researching, purchasing and equipping the adventure and experiential travel market." They claim that through an equally balanced offering of adventure-related content, community and commerce, the company is building the leading portal for off-the-beaten-path travelers.

Not off the beaten track, but dead-center in midtown, George Deeb (founder and CEO) spoke on Tuesday, March 21, to approximately 20 journalists from such wide-ranging publications as National Geographic, the New York Times, Marketing News and Travel & Leisure.

Ways they ensure quality and objective reports from their "experts" include peer checks, certified leaders for all trips, safe trips, promotion of safe tourism and by sending all their employees as undercover travelers to report on the operators.

Acting like a travel agent, iExplore receives a commission ranging from 15-20% from sales to various tour operators they deal with. The company does not, however, promote one operator over another. Its POV is unbiased. iExplore also claims to be full service, so while Gorp.com might offer a trail-mix outlook on planning a trip, iExplore plans it all for you. People who book this sort of trip with his company are informed, athletic, curious travelers who want the maximum experience. They're not Frommer's budget travelers. And while his vehicle is the adventure-travel business, George confessed, "I'm in the dream business!"