NB: This is a guest article by David Los, co-founder of Tripl.
Social travel sites appear to launch every day – some get acquired by Google, some are mobile efforts in Asia, others are just riding the crest of the white hot social travel wave.
So, we hear about them every day – but what actually is a social travel website?
Frankly, I wish there was a better definition of what is a social travel website. There are so many applications out there under the banner of “social travel”, which can ultimately be confusing for users, partners, media etc.
Even I am confused, but is it just me? I think not.Â Let’s look at what a “social travel” website might mean? Frankly, whatâ€™s not “social travel”?
I think, however, there is a huge difference in between travel websites that are “social” and “social travel” websites. Thereâ€™s a difference in utilizing social media in a good way, and in making travel it more social.
For example: a hotel review site with Facebook integration (a wall, Likes, comments etc), is not making the actual travel more social. And the same goes for a photo-sharing site.
Those sites are just using social tools, to enhance a better communication, and sharing functions. Thus, they do not link people in a social way. That’s what Facebook is doing, that’s what LinkedIn is doing and that’s what a social travel website should do as well.
For me, a social travel website is focusing on connecting travellers from around the world, no matter which application they are using.
Even if I am a Facebook user, I would still like to integrate with people who are using the Chinese Renren.com, or with people from a professional network like LinkedIn.
Our human curiosity encourages us to meet new people with different cultures, experiences and backgrounds. Itâ€™s about transforming a virtual relationship into a real life relationship, and vice versa.
Itâ€™s about using your network to get in contact with friends, or even friendsâ€™ of friends, abroad. To get in contact with locals before you get there and to make the world smaller thanks to the social travel connections that can be established on the web.
A social travel website should be social in a way that the word “social” is defined. A huge, if not the most important part of the travel experience is the social part I would say.
It is what we remember and what we think of when looking back on a previous trip – it is the great people we meet, and not the old monument that we already have seen twenty times on pictures before going.
Anyway, the future of social travel is yet to be defined, but we must concede that there is a huge difference between a social travel website and a travel website that is social.
My definition of a social travel website is that it should:
- Link travelers, locals and friendsâ€™ of friends from around the world
- Recommend people and places based on your social graphs
- Leverage the power of social purchases
- Make the world feel like a smaller place
- Have a social and global focus through the entire site
NB: This is a guest article by David Los, co-founder of Tripl.com.