sealPurdue News

August 1999

Company's Web site takes the trauma out of travel

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- A travel advice Web site designed by a company headquartered at the Purdue Research Park is now easily accessible to America On Line's 17 million customers.

The Ticked-Off Tourist, which publishes daily travel articles that offer insight and information to the leisure traveler, was officially launched Wednesday (6/16) evening as a publishing partner on America On Line's travel channel. That means when AOL customers click on the travel button on AOL's home page, they go straight to AOL's preferred travel sites, which now include

"Travelers can become victims because of their lack of awareness of industry practices or due to the presence of occasional fraud. Our job is to give travelers the advice they need to avoid all of the pitfalls associated with a confusing travel industry," said Scott Bechtel,'s chief executive officer.

The company is moving its administrative offices into the Purdue Technology Center, a 60,000-square-foot facility in the Purdue Research Park that will be ready for occupancy in July. The company,, will share the building with several other high-tech start-up ventures as part of a Purdue Research Foundation business incubator program.

"We chose Purdue as our home base because of its many resources, such as the computer experts in the School of Computer Science and the business management experts in the Krannert School of Management," Bechtel said. "With their advice and guidance, we hope to make our Web site more interactive and our business stronger." The company will have access to the Gateways Program, a project that helps incubator tenants with marketing, business plans, accounting and all of the tasks associated with making a business successful.

Success may be coming fast for, according to Bechtel. Since the Web site went on line 14 weeks ago, hundreds of thousands of Web surfers have dropped in to read stories by well-known travel columnists. The site's founder and editor, Christopher Elliott, writes a column for called "The Crabby Traveler" along with several other Internet travel columns.

Biztravel columnist Joe Brancatelli writes one of the site's flagship features "JoeSentMe." Drawing on his knowledge and experience from working at Travel and Leisure magazine and Travel Holiday magazine and editing Frequent Flyer magazine, he offers unconventional advice for leisure travelers.

Travel book writer Charlie Leocha, well-known for his money-saving suggestions, created the column called "Cheap Charlie." His company, World Leisure Corp., is a leading publisher of ski guide books in the United States.

David Kirby, editor of the Interactive Travel Report, is the site's online booking expert, revealing who's good and who's not when it comes to buying travel on the Internet. Terry Riley, a security consultant who wrote the book "Travel Can Be Murder," delivers a hard-hitting column on the dangers of travel and how to stay safe when you're on the road.

Some of the writers at are mystery columnists. Rumor has it that the "Occidental Tourist" is a big-time magazine writer, and the "IncogniTraveler," who dissects airline regulations every week and urges passengers to "politely throw the book at non-compliant carriers," used to be an industry insider. Besides columns, "On the Road" allows Web browsers to find out what's happening in any given city, and "TraveLaughs" offers the latest humorous travel-related stories.

The Purdue Research Park, which opened in 1961, is home to 81 companies that employ 2,500 people. It covers almost 700 acres, of which 120 have been developed by the Purdue Research Foundation, the nonprofit corporation that sponsors the park.

Sources: Scott Bechtel, (765) 538-1100;

Stan Mithoefer, director, Purdue Research Park, (765) 494-1726;

Writer: Jeanine Smith, (765) 496-3133;

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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