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Groople Automates Group Travel Online

Groople, Denver, has announced the public launch of www.groople.com, a retail marketplace designed for group travel.

The site targets myriad groups — military, educational, religious, fraternal, bridal and other social organizations — allowing them to book travel and accommodations for more than five rooms in a single online session.

Groople.com also lets consumers see the group inventory that a hotel or other supplier dynamically manages on the back end, allowing groups to take advantage of discounts quickly and easily while giving suppliers the representation they require to accommodate group bookings.

Groople features more than 56,000 hotels, including 7,000 that offer real-time group rates. Under its hosted inventory and commission models, Groople generates group bookings by niche for hotels. It plans to add air, car, cruise, bus and rail later this year.

“We immediately recognized the many advantages of using Groople for targeting and servicing the group travel market,” said Shelley Carroll, general manager of Summerfield Suites by Wyndham. “The potential for growth is tremendous, and, with Groople's advanced technology, we feel like we're ahead of the curve.”

Groople supports an 80-seat call center to handle special requests and more complex needs, such as booking banquet facilities and registering for events. Groople includes online tools to help users manage various aspects of the booking process, from travel and hotel to rooming lists and group profiles. In a soon-to-be-released version, it will let travelers search and price meeting space, food and beverages, audiovisual equipment and other group-related amenities.

Groople is optimized to work with partner Web sites interested in offering group booking functionality.

The site also plans to add revenue opportunities including online advertising in the form of banners, sponsorships, text links and e-mail sponsorships; and the sale of travel insurance, luggage and related products along with services such as photography, catering, sports, etc.

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