Travel guide favorite Lonely Planet has joined the app game with the launch today of Wenzani, a free app for for the iPhone and iPod touch. Wenzani – a Zulu greeting which means “what are you doing?”- brings together recommendations from Lonely Planet and other top travel publishers along with local experts, and users’ social networks.
“It’s creating a personalized guide on-the-go,” said Jenny Fielding, Wenzani’s CEO. “Wenzani is designed for the social generation, allowing users to tap into leading content from multiple expert sources with socially curated recommendations.”
The app contains three main features. The first? Recommendations drawn from Lonely Planet, Frommer’s Travel and DK Eyewitness, along with other expert sources including BBC Travel, Time Out, and Hearst. It’s the first time we’ve seen competitors come together to form one broad-based app, something we’re excited to explore. Wenzani also promises “content according to context and relevancy, taking into consideration the user’s location and their social network, so that the information is constantly updated while on the go.” Soon, Wenzani will filter by other factors such as weather, time of day, and whether the user is a local or visitor, so it becomes even more tailored and relevant to the users’ needs in real time.
This is something we’ve always wanted to see- I don’t want to go on a walking tour by the lake if it’s 30 degrees and rainy! The third portion is the social media integration which allows users to connect with their friends and other travelers in order to share their own personal experiences and recommendations. Users can browse their friends’ entries and recommendations, create their own listing to add into the guide, or ask a question to the community (e.g. “Where should I get sushi in midtown Manhattan?”) to get immediate answers pushed onto their mobile device. Wenzani also has a Facebook web app to allow users to integrate recommendations from Facebook into the guide.This seems like it will be the most or least useful portion of the tool, depending on how connected and active your social network is in the area where you’re traveling.
From what we can tell, this app promises to be a powerful addition to the suite of travel tools we already have handy on our iPhones. Apps for Android and other platforms will launch in early 2012.