– Destination Guide on Steroids?

Are you looking for the best beer bars in the world, good places to make out in San Francisco, or where to go on the Big Island in Hawaii? A travel recommendation site called nextstop mixes social recommendations with search and adds a reputation system and elements of gameplay to come up with a new social online travel guide.  >>Full Story

Thoughts// Given the rate at which travel sites and travel review sites are launching,  you can forgive us for maintaing a healthy dose of skepticism when we saw this post about yet another travel site. however is one site that made us stop in our tracks.

If you look past the minimalist visual design and focus of the potential of what the site can do, it’s easy to see why we’re psyched.

Created by former Google engineers, the site was borne “out of their frustration with finding interesting things to do in unfamiliar places” and is designed to allow consumers to “recommend their favorite places and organize those recommendations into guides”.    Things we like:

  • Multiple way to view destinations in one easy interface: search box, by city, a guide view, or a map view.
  • The recommendations can be aggregated together into guides (like this one for “eating well in Barcelona”), which can be voted on by members and “liked”.   Consumers can also sort the guides in multiple ways (most recent, most liked, or most viewed etc.)
  • A GoSee-esque member rating system (they call it “reputation system”) that gives commenters points for good reviews (determined by votes)
  • An easy “three step” process to write reviews/add places
  • Most importantly however is that it uses a form of “Open Id” in that you can use your Facebook account to access the site (brilliant!)

While the current economic climate and the crowded travel landscape will make it tough for the site to grow, Nextstop has many virtues: 1) simple user-interface; 2)  intuitive navigation; 3) the quickly “surfacing” of content in multiple ways and 4) the integration of Facebook and “game play” features.    And whatever the final disposition of the site, it’s definitely a case study in how to display copious amounts of content without confusing the consumer.

Comment? @travel2dot0 or email.