May 1, 2007 11:23 pm

Boo.com given a new lease of life

Boo.com, the one-time fashion website that became a symbol of the dotcom meltdown when it burned through £100m in 18 months, is being resuscitated for the Web 2.0 era.

Seven years after the collapse of the original boo. com, the name has been bought by Ray Nolan, the founder of Web Reservations International. The new boo. com will be a hotel booking site, replete with the community features and dy-namic advertising that have become hallmarks of the new generation of online start-ups.

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“It’s catchy, and it works across languages,” Mr Nolan told the Financial Times. “Obviously there’s a lot of brand history, but when we told our staff we’d bought the Boo name most of them didn’t know what we were talking about.”

The new site will combine a more focused search engine with reviews, maps, direct links to booking instructions on hotels’ websites and a series of interactive features allowing users to share recommendations with their friends.

Unusually, advertising will be targeted, allowing different hotel or airline advertisements to be shown depending on whether the customer is interested in two-star or five-star hotels, and changing the prices advertised depending on the dates chosen.

Web Reservations, which operates the hostelworld.com website, produced €19m of earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation last year, from handling €300m of bookings.

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