Remember when flipping through a Frommer's guidebook on the plane en route to a vacation spot was the way to figure out where to go, what to see and where to eat? Then apps replaced the weight of print and soon you could get read the same reviews and information, only targeted more for you. Now social apps are turning your social media friends and their friends into your new travel adviser.
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“I'm so reliant on technology and that type of a lifestyle that I'm not that person to buy a book,” said Leslie Richin, 34, a social media strategist based in New York City told Mashable. “It's just not for the moment, when everything is changing. I want a real-time experience.”
With burgeoning social travel apps and websites such as Trippy, TripAdvisor, Airbnb and CouchSurfing, that's all changed. Using the recommendations of friends and locals to know where to eat, where to shop and where to explore, makes travel more personal.
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Trippy.com is sometimes called the Pinterest of social travel sites. The site offers users a way to “collect travel ideas and plan great trips.” TripAdvisor tows the line of reservation and booking sites such as Expedia or Travelocity.
Adding a way to connect your friends with your travels, all of these apps allow you to dive deeper into the community in real-time to see what local trends are or find the best place for a cup of coffee. Users log in with Facebook and Twitter to see where their friends or followers have visited and what their impressions were.
“I like to engage people in what they're talking about,” Richin said. “I might not even know the person, but they seem pretty genuine about it so I'm going to swing by and check it out.”
Websites like the ones Richin used are becoming increasingly popular among young adults in their 20's and 30's who seem more likely to trust a personal recommendation, even if it's from a friend of a friend.
“Having hosts show you around and take you to the hidden treasures of a city is definitely the best thing about couch surfing,” Adam Watts, 23, a recent graduate and avid CouchSurfer told Mashable. “That and the new food you inevitably get to try.”
Connecting and sharing is a calling card of Gen-Yers -- also called millennials -- and seeing where their friends have been, where they're going, who they're with, was the idea behind what is now Tripl.com.
“We saw this big opportunity that more and more people were using smartphones and more content was being created on them,” Peter Sullivan, CEO at Tripl, told Mashable. “But for the first time there were geotags whether it was check-in, a status update, a picture.”
The focus of the industry should be on “understanding how millennials travel in a manner that's different than other demographics,” Bjorn Hanson, hospitality management professor at New York University, told Mashable.
Where baby boomers would plan to spend three nights in the city at one hotel, millennials might bounce around and go from place to place for those three nights. A here-and-now generation, rather than a future-planning one.
Would you use a social travel app to plan your next trip? Let us know in the comments.
This story originally published on Mashable here.
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