TravelPod Team Photo

Not only does Owen ( our new TravelPod Labs manager ) bring tons of programming talent to the TravelPod Labs team – he’s also a great photographer and always seems to have his SLR with him.

Its been a while since we shared a team photo, so I thought I would post this one from our weekly Friday beer-time.

This may be the last time we post pics from our current office – the big news around TP these days is that we’re moving from our small 850 square foot office to a much bigger 3500 square foot office down the street.

Hang tight, we’ll post some pics of the new office soon.

TravelPod Team

Small updates that make us happy :)

For a long time members have asked about our label “Traveled to ??% of the world” that we place on member profile pages. So much so that we added a special section to the FAQ years ago to explain what exactly this is and how we generate it.

I have to admit, having traveled for more than 2 years in the last 10 years, even I didn’t really like admitting that I’d only seen 18% of the world.

It’s tough to come up with a ratio that’s just right and meaningful … so instead ( thanks to some gentle prodding by pykesonthego ) we’ve updated the label to show a total of countries a member has traveled to.

The old way:

The old way

The new ( less confusing ) way:

The new way

The new way

That’s better 🙂


Digg Co-Founder Owen Byrne Joins TravelPod

After 5 months of searching we’re happy to announce that we’ve finally filled our TravelPod Senior Labs Manager position.

Owen Byrne ( Co-Founder ) Joins TravelPod

Owen Byrne ( Co-Founder ) Joins TravelPod

Owen Byrne, one of the cofounders of has joined TravelPod to run our TravelPod Labs group. The group is dedicated to innovation and rapid development which is a perfect fit considering Owen’s background at Digg.

Check out the press release ( below ) for the full scoop.

Welcome Owen!

Spearheading New Innovation Lab at Travel Blogging Pioneer Headquarters

OTTAWA, July 28 /CNW/ — TravelPod(R), the Web’s first site to enable its members to create online travelogues (travel blogs), today announced that Owen Byrne, a co-founder of, has joined the company to lead its new technology development department, TravelPod Labs. Byrne is the senior
TravelPod Labs manager, where he’ll lead efforts to develop new ideas and test home grown concepts designed to pioneer the next generation of leading-edge web technologies.

Byrne is well-known as co-founder and original developer of, which became one of the leading “social news” websites, ranking as high as 55th in world internet traffic rankings from

“Two long-standing obsessions in my life have been the excitement of travel and the challenge of building world-class scalable websites,” said Owen Byrne, senior TravelPod Labs manager. “When I was presented with the opportunity to combine the two at TravelPod, it was like a dream come true.”

“We are thrilled to welcome Owen to TravelPod,” said Luc Levesque, founder and General Manager of TravelPod. “TravelPod Labs’ mission is firmly focused on innovation and experimentation and Owen’s proven skills in turning first-mover ideas into scalable technology will help us produce ever more useful and valuable applications to travelers everywhere.”

Before co-founding, Owen Byrne held developer and programming positions at Motorola in the U.K., in Barcelona, and The Halifax Chronicle-Herald Limited in Canada and also taught management at the University of Manitoba. He holds an A.B.D. from the University of Manitoba, and M.B.A. from Dalhousie University and a B.Sc. from St. Mary’s University.”

TravelPod Team

We are hiring – TravelPod Labs Sr. Manager; new “Jobs” section on TravelPod

We’re looking to hire a bunch of cool new people into TravelPod this year so I thought it was about time to get our jobs listed on TravelPod.

TravelPod now has a new section where all of our jobs are listed. ( Check it out )

Right now we’re looking for a Senior Manager to run TravelPod Labs (TPL). TPL is a new group dedicated to innovation, Social Networking apps ( like Facebook, MySpace, etc ) and other cutting edge stuff… if you think you have what it takes for this key job, let us know!

Here is the position description:

About TravelPod Labs

Founded in December 2007, TravelPod Labs (TPL) is an elite software development division within the TripAdvisor Media Network family. Based in Ottawa, TPL was created to develop new ideas and test home grown concepts that will pioneer the next generation of leading edge web technologies.TPL’s mission is firmly focused on innovation and experimentation. In today’s world of Facebook apps, widgets and social networks, where small, talented teams can develop applications within a few weeks and draw millions of visitors, an organization’s ability to move fast is critical.
TravelPod Labs has a dedicated focus on agile development and prides itself on having a fast and iterative approach to launching quality web based travel applications.The PositionTravelPod Labs is seeking a superstar software engineer with strong experience managing a technical team for the position of Senior Manager. Your main objective will be to build a world-class team of engineers and provide leadership for the team’s development and implementation of web applications across several of TripAdvisor’s brands.

At TravelPod Labs, you will have the opportunity to help define and create Web 3.0, while building high-performance web applications that millions of people will use to enhance their travel research and transaction experience.

To be successful in the role, you will have proven experience working in web application development environments, technical competency in developing high-performance, scalable PHP applications, deep understanding of HTML, JavaScript, XML and CSS, and Ajax and experience with specific tools and platforms, such as LAMP, SubVersion and Eclipse.

The Requirements

• Degree in Computer Science or related technical or scientific degree or related, equivalent experience required/preferred
• Business knowledge and leadership abilities
• Excellent interpersonal skills with the ability to motivate and drive teams
• Demonstrated ability to perform in demanding multi-task environments.


• We offer very competitive cash and stock based compensation packages.
• World class benefit package.


TIQ on Bebo – The Traveler IQ is now available on Bebo!


The Traveler IQ is now available on Bebo – It’s time to put yourself on a new TIQ leaderboard ( better hurry before it fills up though ).

For those of you who spend their online social life on Bebo, you can now show off your traveler IQ on your Bebo page and put your friends to shame by blowing away their score on the leaderboard.

Give it a try

Traveler IQ Challenge

2007 round up

2007 was a great year for TravelPod. We started the year off by joining the TripAdvisor family and thanks to some awesome support from our new extended team, we were able to put the pedal to the metal and add features to TP that you’ve be asking for.

Here’s a run down of what we did since then:

  • We grew, big time: 500%+ x more travelers
  • We added the long awaited drag and drop photo uploader ( yay )
  • Revamp of photo sorting , editing & embedding ( no more sorting alphabetically by title, hooray )
  • We had our 10th birthday
  • Tons of video enhancements ( streaming, embedding, thumbnails, etc… )
  • Photo rating, comments and auto-weaving
  • Lots of enhancements to make TP easier to use
  • Support for your blogs on Facebook, Friendster and Plaxo
  • Added notification options for Facebook
  • Made some enhancements to our maps
  • Moved to new lightening fast and reliable servers at TripAdvisor
  • Redesigned our Homepage ( Amen! )
  • Had our first TravelPod meetup in our new Ottawa office

Thanks for sticking with us throughout the last 10 years. We know that there are lots of options out there for your blogs and we’ll keep pumping out new features in 2008 to make sure that TravelPod is the best place for your travel blogs.

Happy Holidays everyone,



Wall Street Journal loves the Traveler IQ Challenge


Today’s edition of the Wall Street Journal published an article on our very own Traveler IQ Challenge.

It’s cool to see that the CEO of Electronic Arts is addicted to the challenge, here is the quote from the article:

“I’m addicted,” says John Riccitiello, chief executive of videogame publisher Electronic Arts

Who would have guessed that it would take off like this… We get roughly 4M unique players monthly ( Wow! ).

Check out the entire article

Traveler IQ Challenge

Show thumbnails on printer view – long awaited feature

You’ve asked for this for a while. When you view your blogs in printable form ( ie: by clicking the “print entry” button on an entry ), photo thumbnails are now included by default.

This lets you print a hard copy of your blogs that includes the photos.

Here is one of my blogs:

You can still disable this by clicking “Hide photos”


TravelPod Features

TIQ on Friendster; usability updates and more growth

Last week was a little nuttier that usual at TPHQ. The Traveler IQ Challenge was featured on and we doubled in traffic almost instantly which had us scrambling to tweak and optimize the challenge while we ordered new servers.

We also scrambled to be one of the first to launch on Friendster’s new platform. We’re happy to say that you can now play the traveler IQ challenge on Friendster if that’s your social network of choice.

We’ve also hired 2 awesome developers and are this close to hiring a new community manager that you’ll all be meeting soon.

It’s always tough finding time for training but last week we spent 2 days on a course for design and usability – ie: how to make web sites prettier ( is that a word? ) and easier to use. We hear you loud and clear that TP can be a little confusing to use at times and are working hard to make it easier.

We’ve already added a handful of tweaks to make it easier to use and plan to roll out more updates this coming week. Making TP easier to use is very high on our priority list so you will most likely start noticing small changed here and there.

We’ve been growing the team a lot faster than we’d thought we would this year and although we just moved into our new office a few months ago, we’re looking for a new office already!

We’ll make sure to post some pics once we find something and settle in.

On a personal note, we’re looking forward to another TravelPodder joining the extended team: I just found out that I’m going to be the father of a baby boy soon! Which probably means that I’ll have to master the art of changing diapers while posting to this blog on Sunday mornings 🙂


TravelPod Features

Homepage updates and small enhancements

I thought I would post about some smaller enhancements we made to TP this week while I drink my Saturday morning coffee…

We’ve been a little distracted by interviews this week ( BTW, we’re hiring Developers if you’re interested ) so nothing earth shattering but we did add a few things:

– We added some usability enhancements like autoselect on our homepage and login page. Now you can just start typing your search query or your login name without having to select the field ( one less step ).

– We added the “Latest Forum Post” section to the homepage to show the last post to our forums.

– We also fixed a nagging bug that some members wrote in about when having problems posting comments.

– We added a new header for this blog that you’re reading now.

… and a couple other small things not worth mentioning.

Like I said, nothing earth shattering but we’re always improving the site and try our best to keep you up to date.

We’ve got bigger things in the works, stay tuned.

Enjoy the weekend!

TravelPod Features

$1,000 B&B contest

Our sister company is having a contest that you might find interesting. Here is the promo they sent us:

Win Up to $1,000 Toward Your Next B&B Getaway!

Where would you go if you had $1,000? Tell us about one of your memorable bed and breakfast getaways at and you could win a $1,000 gift certificate. Just by signing up you are also entered to win a $100 gift certificate!

*Open to U.S. residents only. See official rules for more details

More info