You may think the world isn’t big enough for yet another social trip planning site to catch on with travelers, but you’d be wrong.
UBTripn is a new website and app that lets travelers crowdsource recommendations from people in their social graph before they book their travel, and then share their experiences along the way.
The service first popped on to the scene at last year’s PhoCusWright conference in Scottsdale, Arizona, after the founders plunked down $10,000 to pitch their idea to travel tech’s brightest and best.
Since then, the pickup by consumers has happened just like founder Josh Travis expected.
“Everybody knew that trip planning was broken,” Travis tells Gadling. “They just didn’t know how to fix it.”
Travis was struck with the UBTripn idea while traveling constantly as a consultant for McKingley & Co.
“I was on the road three times a month and so were my friends, who also all happen to be consultants,” Travis recalls. “I couldn’t trust what TripAdvisor users said because they’re – well – not cool like consultants and other artists. And I can’t trust guidebooks because my mom used to read them.”
Fixing social trip planning, it turns out, begins by logging in via Facebook Connect, which users are required to do before they’re even told the company name or URL. The initial login address is received via a private Twitter account that must accept a user’s “follow” before sharing.
“We’ve committed ourselves to this product and the least users can do is commit their entire social graph and most intimate relationships in order to get a better hotel recommendation in Rome,” Travis says.
Travis says that the service caught on so quickly because people like the work involved in learning a new system before they can build itineraries for a two-day getaway. And users love getting recommendations about Burma from their high school friends who’ve never left Cleveland.
And luckily, everyone travels as frequently as a consultant, so UBTripn doesn’t have to worry about adopters only using the service once or twice a year.
What was the one thing that helped UBTripn rise above all the digital noise?
“Travel bloggers,” says Travis.
“We partnered with some of the most popular travel bloggers – sites like NomadUberAlles, 2Dads1Rollerboard, Vagbackers.com and dogwithatravelblog – to provide us with experiential content about destinations. They earn revenue from the sale of travel products from those cities in exchange for becoming UBTripn advocates. This gave us access to literally tens of users.”
What’s next on the horizon for UBTripn?
“Events and tours,” Travis responds quickly. “Everybody loves event listings, and they really want to book tours of popular places far in advance based upon the recommendation of an eighth-grade classmate who stalks them on Facebook.”
[Photo Credit: Flickr user HM Revenue and Customs]