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Fathom, the travel site launched by two former Daily Candy editors earlier this year, is expanding its commerce side with a shop of travel-themed products and will soon allow visitors to book travel directly from the site.
The Fathom shop sorts products by category (“Books for the long haul,” “Global pantry”), activity and destination. Most of the products are sold via affiliate revenue links, and all are accompanied by some editorial content. Products in the store link back to relevant stories on the site.
Since its launch in August, Fathom is averaging between 70,000 and 100,000 page views per month, co-founder Pavia Rosati, the former executive editor of Daily Candy, told me. She said she’s encouraged by user engagement, with visitors spending an average of five minutes on the site and many visiting more than three pages.
Next up, as “part of the big plan for Fathom to position itself at the intersection of editorial and commerce in the travel space,” is a partnership with “one of the country’s largest travel agencies,” which Rosati could not name. Fathom visitors will be able to book hotels, and eventually cars and and flights, directly from the site, with Fathom receiving a referral fee. “It won’t look very dissimilar to the experience people have when they go to Expedia or Orbitz. The travel agency we’re partnering with has access to all the same stuff,” Rosati said. “The difference is the Fathom pre-editing of hotels in big cities. We don’t tell you every hotel in New Orleans, we tell you the seven best.” Users who need help will be able to call a travel agent directly, “a level of service that other travel sites don’t have.”
Other travel sites are also experimenting with customized travel booking and concierge services, often for a fee, which Fathom will not charge. Fortnighter offers customized travel itineraries, created by travel writers, between $100 and $200, and Gilt Groupe’s Jetsetter offers a personalized travel planning service for $200.