Ooh.com: a new way to travel?

Ooh.com is an online notice board that allows users to list trips, courses, classes and events for free, as well as take direct bookings and payments through the site and directly from buyers.

The idea for Ooh.com came to Reeves 18 months ago, when he was looking to book a quirky ice-skiing trip in Norway.

“It struck me as quite strange – there was no place to go and find out about these sorts of things,” says Reeves. “I got thinking that there should be a site where anyone or any small company doing interesting things can list themselves and sell directly to the world.”

The site definitely offers quirky and off-the-beaten-track trips. For example, Ooh.com’s first successful sale was for a mushroom safari in British Columbia, Canada. Other popular listings are a four-week ski and cultural experience in Japan, a hip-hop tour of New York City, or an igloo-building course in Sweden.

In terms of how the site will make money, Reeves admits there is still some way to go, however.

“We don’t know yet – right now people can list for free, but in the future we’re looking at introducing modest listing fees or commissions,” he says.

The likely model will be a minimum fee of $1 (£0.62) per booking, Reeves explains, or a 10 per cent commission for more expensive listings, up to a cap of $50.

The charging model will only be introduced once the business has reached a “critical mass”, he continues. Until then, Reeves and Blacker will fund the business themselves – so far, they have pumped £250,000 into the six-man venture, which should be enough to last them until June.

“At the end of the day, I would like a core of people who enjoy what we stand for, and use it to find trips that they wouldn’t have discovered otherwise,” Reeves says.

If they can pull it off, Reeves and Blacker may well hit gold once again.

They certainly are no strangers to success. Indeed, in addition to running their £10m-turnover Sofa.com venture, they successfully sold their upmarket fast food delivery business, Deliverance, to Active Private Equity for £5.5m in 2004.

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