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Guardian launches new travel site with boosted UGC

LONDON - Guardian Unlimited has completed the first stage of its digital expansion with the launch of a new travel site.

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The site contains increased user-generated content and multimedia elements, while additional features enable the travel community to shop for holidays using Travelsupermarket and participate in an online auction service.

Emily Bell, director of digital content at Guardian News & Media, said: "Innovation, creativity and user-generated content are central to our online vision. The launch of the new travel site gives a taste of the improvements we are planning across the GU network.

"The site is more user-friendly, invites greater interactivity and provides a range of booking opportunities. Visually, it has been transformed with cleaner lines and more pictures, providing a fantastic package for the user.

"This is the first step in the next development of GU, future releases will be phased in over time to enable us to accommodate feedback from our users at every level. We plan to increase reader-generated content and introduce multimedia elements, including more audio and video."

The travel site has been redesigned to give the modern pages a cleaner appearance, with a wider grid to reflect the Berliner design of The Guardian.

The group's creative team is working with the Shaw Trust to improve accessibility, with all articles tagged by hand to provide relevant navigation.

Advertising-wise, the site offers an alternative to the standard size ad slot with the introduction of the half-page ad, which is popular in the US market.

The advertising industry also benefits from enhanced targeting opportunities, including the ability to serve ads based on the content tags associated with a particular article, as well as an extended target market.

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