Online global travel network TravelShark acquires eat.shop guides

Online global travel network TravelShark has acquired eat.shop guides, a publisher of independent, hyper-local travel guides for the world’s top travel destinations. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The acquisition gives TravelShark eat.shop’s visually powerful, curated content related to thousands of unique and “unexpected” dining and shopping venues in 30 cities around the world. TravelShark will retain the book business, and it will extend the success of eat.shop guides by exposing the print content for the first time in the digital realm.

TravelShark plans to expand the reach of the business with the addition of 100 new cities in the next year. The company will integrate eat.shop’s original content into its major-market websites, a range of new travel products it is developing in the area of trip planning, and new mobile applications designed for travelers who enjoy discovering the local flavor of a destination on their smartphones and tablets.

“TravelShark is excited to be at the forefront of the trend favoring original content in travel, most recently reflected by Google’s acquisition of Zagat,” said Sue Heilbronner, TravelShark’s CEO. “Web users are craving curated, original content about unique places to see on their next trip, and eat.shop’s content – which has never appeared online – fills a void for travelers weary of seeing the same old repurposed online content when they are researching their next vacation.”

Launched in 2006 by founder and CEO Kaie Wellman, eat.shop guides has print distribution in bookstores and gift stores around the world. In addition, the company has grown a private-label publishing business, creating branded editions of its city guides for large companies and hotel chains. As part of the acquisition, Wellman joins TravelShark as Head Curator and will continue to develop this brand of hyper-local content for print and online under the eat.shop brand and TravelShark’s new “As a Local” sub-brand.