It’s a good week for trip planning website TravelMuse. It launched its first application, the TravelMuse Plan-It!, which allows users to collect travel information from a range of sites in one centralized location — and then share it with their friends. On top of that, it brought in $600,000 in first-round funding from Azure Capital Partners.
The widget, designed for placement on travel blogs, lets users quickly save content by clicking on a Plant-It! icon on the page (just like when you add posts to Digg or your Facebook profile). This info is then transmitted to their personal TravelMuse Planners, where they can use it to construct their own plans. The company says that blogs adding the widget to their sites should see a rise in traffic as users share information linking back to sources.
There is also a crowd-sourcing component to the service, which provides users with continually updated lists of travel ideas, trends and advice based on the bookmarking behavior and interests of their peers using the TravelMuse Planner. Highlighting the hot destinations and real-time traveler preferences, this feature could prove more than helpful in targeted advertising efforts.
The launch of the widget should help TravelMuse break a bit away from the thick pack of other travel planning sites like Expedia, TripIt, Dopplr and Fodor’s, which also offer advice, destination reviews and reservation services. In fact, you can already find the small Plan-It! button on sites Uptake (vacation ideas), CompulsiveTraveler (videos) and CiaoBambino (family trips).
The Menlo Park, Calif.-based company has raised $3 million in financing to date, including seed money from Azure and California Technology Ventures.