(PRWEB) August 8, 2005
Travelfish, the online travel guide to Cambodia, Laos and Thailand (http://www.travelfish.org) has just posted its 2,000th accommodation listing, cementing its status as the most comprehensive travel site in the region.
From the best plush hotels in Thailand to the tiniest family-run shacks in the depths of remotest Cambodia, Travelfish provides short and snappy reviews and photographs of a wide range of guesthouses, hotels and resorts to let independent travellers tailor plan trips to best suit them.
Written by Travelfish's team of anonymous reviewers, the listings are a fresh and sharp alternative to the PR-advertorial copy provided on most hotel reservation websites. Users can book via Travelfish for a limited number of properties but the real advantage of the site is its focus on accurate and unbiased information -- not on spin to get a user to book a room.
"When I read about a guesthouse, I want to know if it is underneath a flight path, next door to a sheet-metal workshop or above a 24-hour karaoke bar," says co-founder Stuart McDonald. "And likewise, I want to know if the staff are genuinely helpful and the style something special. Only by giving the user the good and the bad can they make a truly informed decision about where they want to stay. And in our corner of the world, no other site comes close for comprehensiveness."
Co-founder Samantha Brown, a journalist who also oversees Travelfish's editorial content, says the reservations model for websites authomatically cuts out a huge range of fascinating places for travellers to stay in the mostly underdeveloped region.
"The vast majority of charming places in Cambodia and Laos cannot be booked in advance -- but these are places that travellers really should know about. It's important to us to give travellers as much information about their choices both before they travel and while they're on the road."
Those planning ahead can build their own guidebooks, customising the content they want from the site and the layout they prefer and download it to print off if they want to hit the road with a Travelfish guidebook.
"People don't realise that a guidebook is nine months out of date by the time it hits the shops. I can have lunch at a new Phnom Penh cafe and pop a review of it into the system immediately afterwards. Not only will it be on the site for users to see, it will also be included in the next guidebook printed out," she says. "Traditional guidebooks simply cannot compete."
With its increasing popularity, Travelfish is launching partnerships with traditional media, providing weekly travel articles to the Bangkok Post, Thailand's leading English-language paper, and reviewing sublime hideaways for In Residence, a new Bangkok lifestyle magazine.
"With Travelfish, we saw the opportunity to deliver refreshingly different travel content to our readers," says Pongpet Mekloy, travel editor at the Bangkok Post. "They often visit places most people have never heard of. And when you read their articles, you'd say to yourself: 'okay, that's another place, I'll have to go'".
Joel Quenby, editor of In Residence, jumped at the opportunity to get onboard with Travelfish. "One of the great things about working with Travelfish is the resorts don't know how to handle them -- their writers refuse junkets and pick the places they want to review. The writers slip well under the radar and the resort doesn't know they've been reviewed until they read it in the magazine and it is way too late for spin. Our readers appreciate the value in that."
Travelfish is the website other travel writers turn to.
"Early on, I received an email from one of the most famous of the Southeast Asian travel-guide writers complimenting us on the site -- I was thrilled to receive it, and it showed us even then, when we listed about 50 places to visit, that we were on the right track. Now with over 2,000 accommodation listings across 300 individual destinations -- plus more than 500 restaurant reviews -- we've come to the conclusion that we've created a monster."
Founded in 2003, Travelfish is headquartered in Sydney, Australia, and maintains research hubs in Phnom Penh, Bangkok and Luang Prabang.
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