Travel Channel takes stake, will promote hotel review site

NEW YORK CITY U.S. cable network Travel Channel has taken a US$7.5 million stake in online hotel review site, in an effort to position itself as an online booking portal.

The network plans to promote Oyster on television and online, and may incorporate the struggling website’s professional hotel reviewers into future programming. Unlike rival TripAdvisor, which relies on unverifiable user-generated content, Oyster publishes only reviews and photography by professional journalists who stay incognito at hotels.

Besides giving the struggling Oyster a significant boost in exposure, the partnership could make Travel Channel a bigger player in online travel sales, either through direct bookings at its or via OTA advertising.

Oyster continues to be majority-owned by Bain Capital Ventures, which founded the site in 2009 with a US$8.5 million investment. The new ownership stake breakdown has not been disclosed. Travel Channel, which broadcasts to about 100 million homes, is owned by Scripps Networks Interactive.