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A Sidelong Glance at 'Peek,' the Newest Marketplace for Travel Experiences

October 16, 2012 at 3:53 PM | by | ()

Peek.com. It's not NSFW, we swear, but it could be taking your money pretty soon anyhow.

Peek is the newest travel site out there with something to sell, but its focus is actually on experiences—not hotel rooms or flights or gear or anything else but the opportunity of getting out there and doing something without going through too much organizational trouble. Browse their available activities in San Francisco, San Diego, California Wine Country or Hawaii (more destinations coming soon), click-click-click-purchase and you're all set with a biplane ride or a ghost tour or a photography workshop. We'd equate it to tacking shore excursions onto a cruise, except you're not on a cruise; you're on your own trip with the desire to add some adventure.

The design of the site is clean, with a focus on juicy images. It's in the style of Jetsetter.com or Airbnb.com. We're going to be nit-picky and note that the banner image (shown above) is of a coastal town in Italy, which is not currently a Peek destination. And it goes without saying that the reason Peek is enjoying so much favorable media coverage is due somewhat to the investment of Jack Dorsey (creator of Twitter, CEO of Square).

An article on Peek by WIRED notes that its competitors are Viator and Expedia's new activity booking option. What WIRED failed to realize is that there are already two other sites that proceed Peek and come even closer to its model: Zozi & SideTour.*

Looking at Zozi and SideTour, it's pretty apparent that Peek arrives a little late to the game. Heck, Zozi already boasts 23 destinations (including Mexico) with bookable activities like a Zombie Handgun Survival Course (NYC), a Brewery tour by limo (SF) and ice climbing (Vancouver). SideTour however totally kills it in the personal experience zone by aligning members with experts in New York and Chicago for activities including a dinner party in an East Village monastery and a graffiti tour of Chicago's west loop. Plus both offer referral sign-up bonuses of $10, which Peek is not doing.

That said, Peek does have some things going for it right off the bat, like it's "Perfect Day" series highlighting personalities and their favorite spots. Who knew model/actress Devon Aoki was so fond of the Pacific Coast Air Museum? That's just content though; Peek didn't make a sale off our marking that museum down as a "must-visit."

Will we use Peek on our upcoming trip to San Francisco? It's a possibility as their wine country activities are robust, but the idea of being locked down into a certain activity on a certain day still turns us off a bit. Perhaps when/if they expand to other countries, where Peek's involvement can smooth over language barriers and iffy tour websites, we'll take the offerings more to heart.

*We've linked to the referrals for Zozi & SideTour if you haven't already signed up to scope out these sites. That way you at least get the intro $10 instead of nothing (and yeah, we get it too, but promise to use it on something cool).

[Photo: screenshot]

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