Destinations

Peek launches in Boston with plans to donate to bombing relief fund

May 04, 2013 11:00 am

Skift Take

At least Peek backs up its questionable PR tactic of announcing a Boston launch when awareness surrounding the city is at its highest by donating to The One Fund Boston.

— Samantha Shankman

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The homepage for Boston on Peek.com. / Peek


A San Francisco-based startup wants to boost Hub tourism in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings by aligning travelers with the best activities and attractions the city has to offer.

Peek.com, which launched yesterday in Boston — the company’s 12th U.S. travel market — was founded in October 2012. The startup counts Twitter founder Jack Dorsey and Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt among its investors, said co-founder and CEO Ruzwana Bashir.

“We were always intending to launch in Boston. With everything that happened in the last two weeks, we really want to encourage people to go to Boston and find out all of the great things that are actually in this wonderful city,” Bashir, 29, told the Herald.

Unlike other travel websites such as Kayak and Expedia, Peek.com, which raised $1.4 million last year, focuses strictly on activities, as opposed to hotel and flight reservations, Bashir said.

Bashir added Boston has special meaning for her and co-founder Oskar Bruening because it was the first city they both moved to in America. Bashir is an alumna of Harvard Business School, while Bruening is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Bashir said 10 percent of the company’s profits from its Boston business will go to The One Fund Boston, which has raised nearly $28 million to date to help victims and families affected by the bombings.

“Boston has gone through some strife as a city. We want to be as supportive as we can,” she said. “We’re excited to be operating in Boston now and for many years to come.”

Peek.com allows travelers to the Hub to choose from a wide range of activities, including tickets to the Museum of Fine Arts and the New England Aquarium, Freedom Trail walking tours, dune buggy tours on Cape Cod and art walks on Newbury Street. Travelers can also view “Perfect Days” itineraries from Rhode Island School of Design President John Maeda and MFA curator Lauren Whitley, who share their favorite ways to spend 24 hours in Boston.

Peek.com will expand its offerings overseas to London and Paris in the near future, Bashir said.

Pat Moscaritolo, CEO of the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau, said Hub tourism has taken a hit in recent weeks.

“(Peek.com) definitely helps us,” he said. “It clearly should generate more bookings, more activity and once those visitors are here there’s always the potential they would decide to extend their two-night stay.”

(c)2013 the Boston Herald. Distributed by MCT Information Services.

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