Travis Katz thinks the online travel business is in need of innovation. The former GM of MySpace is aiming to fill that void with Gogobot, a new social network for travelers. The site is designed to ease the unknowns and tedium of travel planning by tapping into a user’s network of family and friends for more personalized recommendations. Community members can post questions about a specific place (e.g., “What are the best two islands to visit in Greece?”), share travel experiences (e.g., “We enjoyed the most delicious steak at Mastro’s in Las Vegas.”) and showcase the places they’ve been to through a visual feature (photos, maps) called Passport.
As Kara Swisher of All Things Digital puts it, Gogobot is “like Facebook for trips.” However, as Travis clarified with us in an interview, “Gogobot is not trying to replicate Facebook — we’re simply building on top of existing social networks where people already have a core group of connections.” Gogobot users have the option of logging in through Facebook or Twitter and sharing travel questions/reviews to these networks.
When we asked Travis to describe Gogobot in a nutshell, he responded: “People love going on trips but hate planning them. It’s hard to find relevant, specific information. Gogobot aims to solve this pain point for travelers.”
We’ve given Gogobot a whirl here at Boingo and as travelers, we’re excited about it for a few reasons:
- It’s about travel and we’re crazy about travel
- It’s fun to read about our friends’ travel experiences, write about our own and obtain advice for upcoming trips (even if we don’t end up following the advice)
- We can plan our entire trip (hotel, restaurants, landmarks, etc.) with a little help from our friends
- We’re spared a few aimless hours of research on the world wide web
- We’re not starting all over with yet another social network since Gogobot is more like a mini-community tightly integrated with the networks (i.e., Facebook and Twitter) in which we’re already active
It makes a lot of sense that as the major social networking sites grow, mini-communities built around specific topics of interest, e.g., travel, will emerge. Gogobot may very well be one of the first of these mini-communities to make a formidable impact within today’s social graph.
According to Travis, the Gogobot team have a few enhancements up their sleeves: “We continue to make improvements around the user experience and welcome feedback from the Boingo travel community.” The company also plans to enable travel booking directly from the site.
Travelers, sign up for a free Gogobot account and share your comments about the experience. Does the site address your pain points around planning travel?
Want more details? Watch this Gogobot demo video: