CTrip Group snaps up travel search startup Trip.com

Trip.com, a travel discovery app formerly known as Gogobot, is getting acquired amid a flurry of activity surrounding trip discovery tools and companies — and the emerging presence of Airbnb’s foray into finding experiences.

The acquisition comes amid the specter of Airbnb, which has been explicit about looking to become an “experience” engine. If you go to Airbnb today, the first prompt is more or less “what do you want to do” instead of finding a home. Granted, Airbnb is still lacking in the transportation search department, but as it continues to grow it’s likely we’ll see some of these smaller companies or products consolidate to contend with Airbnb’s ambitions to own the travel experience.

CTrip Group will acquire Trip.com for an undisclosed sum. In the announcement, CTrip Group indicated that more than 60 million people have used Trip.com to plan their travel. Trip.com, an early crack at a more unified trip search experience that spans multiple modes of travel, lodging, and experiences, announced the acquisition via a blog post today. The travel discovery engine has raised $39 million in financing. It previously raised $20 million (back in the Gogobot era) from HomeAway in 2014.

“What does this mean for you, our users? Everything and more,” the company said in a blog post. “We’ll still be everything you like and trust about us — the same personalized recommendations, unvarnished perspective from others like you, wrapped in a context-aware app, delivered by the same great Silicon Valley-based team – and then some. Over time, you’ll get upgraded features and additional value as well.”

Started in 2010, Trip.com was part of a wave of startups that saw an opportunity to pick away at the dominance of travel search sites like Kayak with a simpler, streamlined experience. But since then we’ve seen a lot of larger companies recognizing the opportunity there and snapping up those startups, such as Concur buying Hipmunk in September last year. The idea is that searching for both travel, lodging, and experiences can be fragmented and strewn across multiple platforms like Yelp and airline websites, and there’s an opportunity to unify them.

Trip.com’s technology will also flow into CTrip Group’s Skyscanner, which it acquired for $1.74 billion in November last year.