A Social Network for Travelling
Disclaimer: I have — and have had-so many ideas in my mind to fix everyday problems I encounter, that I have decided to write them down and share them on the Internet in the hope somebody will pick them up and realise them. They remain concept ideas for the moment but could lead to something beautiful given enough passion, thought and energy. Feel free to comment if you have ideas or if you feel I forgot something. Contact me through LinkedIn if you would like to use or realise one of my ideas.
Every year I try to make at least two big cross continental trips. And with me there are many others. Millions of people travel cross continental every year (for both business and personal), making it an multi billion dollar market.
The problem I have with and when travelling is two-fold. First, the way I document my trips is a nightmare. The only memories I have from past trips are pictures. I didn’t keep a travel diary (too lazy) and most information I’ve lost over the years; where I stayed, ate and what activities I did. Actually a sad thought if you think about it.
Secondly, Grace (my girlfriend) and I recently booked our summer trip for this year. Our process of choosing Indonesia as our holiday destination was based on the weather forecasts and cheap flights. We had very little idea of the places to actually visit in Indonesia at the time of booking.
Finally, after hours of searching the web, talking to two friends and a family member who had all been to Indonesia before, and reading tons of different websites, forums and reviews we found three locations of real interest; the Gili Islands, Raja Ampat and the Banda Islands, where underwater sealife is supposed to be absolutely astonishing and they turn out not to be on the beaten path of touristic locations.
Finding these destinations for our holiday took hours researching the web and talking friends and family. And even when we found (after a lot of man-hours) the locations we want to visit we still had to invest more time to find the right accommodation and transportation to these places.
In my opinion, there is no easy tool for documenting and sharing information about past trips, and finding new and exciting holiday locations is hard and time consuming. Information on the web is spread over too many platforms. Travellers have no easy and exciting way to exchange information (photo’s, travel routes and reviews) about trips they did.
I believe travel companies focus too much on your next trip (new offerings), but focusing and documenting on your last trip unlocks possibilities for influencing fellow travellers.
A niche platform to document holiday trips and share travel information with fellow travellers.
There are so many ideas I have related to this platform! You will get loads of inspiration from following other travellers, like your friends, family, people you meet during traveling, colleagues and famous people.
In the platform you should be able to follow locations as well (your bucket list locations or upcoming holiday location for example). All the updates on the locations you follow will pop-up in your newsfeed. This way you will get you ready for your holiday and not miss out on the cool stuff!
But there is so much more! Think about:
- an app on my phone that automatically tracks my physical location and route through GPS,
- geo-tagged pictures that easily can be added to the GPS tracked route,
- real-time pop-up notifications on my phone with recommendations from travellers who have been at certain places before,
- reviews for the places where I’ve been,
- a price-watching feature that checks flights for the places I want to go to or where I haven’t been before,
- an easy way to add traveling methods,
- an app that asks me everyday really briefly a couple of questions based on my new location (how did you get there, what did you do today, etc),
- a world-map with all the places that my friends and the people I follow have been (with filters to select who has been where),
- a bucket list feature that adds destinations you see to a wish list,
Business model ideas
Although there is a network effect, I believe that growth is not necessarily the most important driver for this platform. It can be useful for a small, but active and loyal group of users. Affiliate partnerships will probably drive value for the user and generate profit for the platform. An idea is for example working together with big trip operators like Viator.com and WithLocals.com. You offer paid trips from their platform and cut in the profit they make if your users book through them.
Second, I believe that advertising could be a profitable revenue stream. Think about restaurants, bars, hotels and hostels that will be able to advertise upcoming tourists.
The part that get’s me most excited about this idea is its growth potential. The platform has a network effect, meaning that it becomes increasingly valuable with an increasing number of users, so at the beginning the platform should heavily rely on a small, but active and loyal group of users.
Journalist and photographers for large magazines are a group of people that always travel and that have an extremely strong presence on social media.
Further, I strongly believe the platform should be open to external developers that can freely create apps to support this platform. The price-watching feature I mentioned above is a brilliant feature for a partnership with a third party developer in the flight-comparison space, like cheaptickets.com or skyscanner.com. You offer them access to your platform to generate more revenue, while in return they offer every customer of their website a free account to document their trips!
SEO is most probably going to be a big driver of traffic as well, as search engines receive massive amounts of queries on places, while the competition for certain places is relatively low. See for example “Raja Ampat” in Indonesia below, that generates over 90K searches a month on Google and has low competition.
All of this is still a concept and needs rigorous testing and market research before actually developing, but it would be so awesome to have a platform like this. I believe it could be an extremely profitable idea and with the right execution it could lead to a better experience for all future travellers!
Please follow me if you like this post, there is more coming! Contact me before using one of my ideas!