Random Thoughts: Travel 2.0 and TripWolf
As all of you know, new travel sites (travel 2.0!) seem to pop-up on a daily basis, each one promising more features, better advice all while being faster than the other guy or at least more social. And while we usually just don’t have time to review all of them, the recent beta launch of TripWolf gives us a good chance to ponder.
Thoughts// Ah, the benefits of launching a new travel site…learn from everyone else’s mistakes, integrate the latest ‘insert buzz word here’ technology, use plenty of 2.0 looking fonts and logo reflections…and launch. However, in this increasing competitive slice of the online pie, the disadvantage to starting a new travel site is trying to break into the consumer consciousness that really only knows about the 3 big OTAs (online travel agencies…Orbitz, Expedia, Travelocity) and TripAdvisor.
Honestly, with such a huge head start, I am not sure how or who could catch up to TripAdvisor. At this point, TripAdvisor has pretty much pulled a Band-Aid and replaced the phrase ‘social review travel site’ with the word TripAdvisor.
Ron: ‘I going on vacation to the Bahamas.’
Brian: ‘Really? You should check out a social review travel site on the world wide web. Perhaps use your favorite search engine to find it.’
Yeah, I didn’t think that sounded right.
Plus, the clock is ticking on seeing more consolidation in this sector. With so many sites offering similar (in the consumers mind) services, not all of these new ‘2.0’ sites will survive.
That all being said, I would include TripWolf in a group of travel sites that are starting to stand out from the rest…Dopplr, TripIt, VibeAgent, etc…and provide a solid as well as unique service to the traveling public.
As far as TripWolf itself, a very user-friendly site in terms of design and aesthetics, while combining good info from around the web (YouTube, Flickr, etc.) with local advice, reviews and Facebook integration. The two pieces that stood out were a website to .pdf creator (not new, but nice to see) and that the travel guide sections are set up as a wiki…meaning you or I can edit the main content of a section. Rather than just append standard ‘has to stay the same’ info on a site such as TripAdvisor or Travelocity.
And Claude, our friend at Les Explorers, has a good interview with Sebastian Heinzel, the TripWolf CEO…complete with shocking revelation from CEO Heinzel:
‘…people won’t go to a travel website every day…’
Holy crap, this guy gets it!
But I still wonder, how many travel social review sites can one person be a part of…
(Author’s Note: Full disclosure, Jennifer at TripWolf invited us to the private beta a couple of weeks ago.)