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Social Media / Travel Tech / Travel Technology / TripAdvisor / Social Travel / Bad Ideas / → All Tags
Not only have some travel companies ignored our advice and rushed to develop Facbeook applications even though their business models have nothing to do with social media, but now there are entire sub-industries devoted that nonsense. We have no idea how that happened, or why people are building startups on the assumption that you're going to share your travel details with the friends of your friends, but apparently the era of "social travel" has arrived. For at least the next few months.
"There is a trust forged in that tribal mentality that traditional travel companies or guides can't tap into," says one startup entrepreneur in New York City, who suggests that people will go where their online friends tell them to. That's an interesting point inasmuch as, first, we don't exactly know what it means ("tribal mentality"?) and, second, it's almost certainly untrue.
Okay you guys. Enough of this opening multiple tabs and windows to search all your travel options. Travel booking sites are finally getting hip to integrating many modes of transportation into one search, and the latest to up the ante is TripAdvisor.com. In addition to providing flight prices and information, they'll now set you up with rail tickets:
TripAdvisor has partnered with one of the leading mobility and logistic companies in the world, Deutsche Bahn, as well as other top European rail providers including Rail Europe Inc., to give travelers access to train choices across continental Europe as they plan the perfect trip. It becomes the first travel website to integrate multiple rail providers in-line with flight options across a global network.
When travelers conduct a flight search on TripAdvisor, the site will now display rail itineraries alongside flight choices for routes where it's relevant, and in some cases priced even cheaper than air travel. The site has partnered with leading European rail providers, including Deutsche Bahn and Rail Europe, for the beta launch to give travelers access to train choices across continental Europe.
We've long been a fan of Tripadvisor and their hardcore guest-written hotel reviews, but our love for them no ratchets up another notch as the site has finally added airline ratings to their features. Now, you can vote star level (from 1-5 stars) on the carrier as a whole as well as details like seat comfort and punctuality, while also explaining how you really feel about American or Sri Lankan Airlines or even Germanwings, for all future possible travelers on that airline to reference.
While that is a dangerous power Tripadvisor holdsbecoming a public venue for griping about every little thingit's a hazard that is understood by those who really allow their trips to be influenced by Tripadvisor ratings. As of now, only two airlines (Avianca & Air Almaty) are chilling with one star thanks to negative reviews, but as soon as more travelers weigh in, it should average out a bit better.
TripAdvisor / UK Travel / England Travel / UK / England / Technology / Social Media / Bad Ideas / → All Tags
From the Department of Not Getting The Concept, here's a really strange story out of the UK. Two thirty-somethings were midway through their stay at the Golden Beach hotel in Blackpool when the manager stormed into their room and demanded that they leave. Police were called and told to evict the couple, though everyone acknowledges that no crime was committed. Instead, the hotel manager was ballistic because he believed that the guests had left a negative TripAdvisor review of the hotel.
How could this story get any worse for the establishment? The guest was apparently a cancer patient getting out of the city for the first time since completing an 18-month course of chemotherapy. So perfect is this clusterfark that we're still not convinced that it isn't some kind of prank or social media publicity stunt.
Thankfully it's a free application, downloadable in the usual way directly from the Apple iTunes store, and gives quick, mobile-optimized access to its huge archive of user reviews of everything from hotels to national parks. Even better yet, it's formatted for use in 20 countries and 13 languages, so you can recommend it to your friends livingor currently travelingaround the world.
We can only wonder if this app will mean increased headaches for hotels with not-so-great Tripadvisor reviews. Will guests take one look down at their smartphones, displaying the Tripadvisor app, and turn right around? We suppose that we'll just have to use it and see.
· Tripadvisor Unveils New iPhone App [PRNewswire]
· Kayak's Handy iPhone App: Now With Checked Baggage Fees [Jaunted]
· iPhone Travel Apps [Jaunted]
TripAdvisor recently released their members’ picks for the best tours in America. While some were pretty blah, one that really stood out to us was the opportunity to trek through the wilderness in New Mexico with llamas by your side. You don’t actually ride the llamas, but they accompany you and your group, and apparently the critters are more than happy to carry your stuff. This leaves you and your back free to enjoy nature at it’s finest. Just remember to share your water bottle with your llama friend in case he or she gets thirsty.
The tours take you into New Mexico’s Sangre de Cristo Mountains, and all treks are at your own pace. The tour guides, and probably the llamas too, aren’t looking for a stressful journey. After you work up an appetite as you make your way through the Carson National Forest, you’ll be happy to enjoy a fresh meal. All trips serve up “Backcountry Gourmet” meals and the head guide works as a chef in the off-season—so your taste buds will be in good hands.
Tours start at just $99 if you want to experience their Take a Llama To Lunch day hike. If you’re looking to spend a couple nights in the woods, and really get in touch with your new furry buddies, 3 night tours start at $499. Just remember to bring some llama snacks with you; you probably want to get them on your good side as soon as possible.
Germs / TripAdvisor / Ireland / Venice Travel / → All Tags
Among the tourist attractions that make us go "ew", Ireland's Blarney Stone has always been high on the listthe thought of kissing the same piece of rock that all those strangers have kissed is kind of gross.The great news today is we're not the only OCD travelers around thinking this.
A new TripAdvisor list says that the Blarney Stone is #1 on the "Top 5 Germiest World Attractions" list. Not the kind of list you want to be at the top of, right?
After polling some 4,600 travelers, TripAdvisor also discovered that Seattle's Wall of Gum and Oscar Wilde's tomb in Paris are considered very germy too. At number four, St Mark's Square in Venice is a clear germ choice thanks to the pigeons. Rounding out the top five are the famous hand and footprints in Hollywood. Looks like wherever we travel we totally need our germ-busting nano scanner wand.
We can't make up our minds about Art Frommer. Does he like the internet or not? On one hand, he has his own blog and he owns a Kindle. On the other hand, he's not a big fan of other online travel sites, especially review sites where amateur travelers detail their experiences.
His latest victim is TripAdvisor, a site with "some of the looniest opinions about travel." That's because TripAdvisor released a survey in which travelers said :
London has the worst food, Paris is the most overrated and Brussels is the most boring, according to a survey of what travelers think about European cities.
The report also said Prague was a bargain destination which practically made Frommer throw his typewriter in disgust. But you wanna know what? We agree with Frommer. Not necessarily because we think TripAdvisor is full of "loonies" or anything (their hotel reviews are always helpful) but these opinions of European cities are really off-mark.
Paris--overrated? Never. Prague may have been a bargain destination 10 years ago before people "rediscovered" it, but it's a bit of a tourist trap these days. Not to mention that one of the newest hotels there opened with rates starting at $444 a night. As if!
And London having the worst food also doesn't make sense. What about the gastropub invasion? The city has good mix of Michelin Stars and more affordable but still tasty options too. We're so angry we're about to throw our typewriter in disgust...if we hadn't thrown out our typewriter back in 1996.
· So What Makes a Place Overrated? [Jaunted]
· To find some of the looniest opinions about travel, head to TripAdvisor.com [Jaunted]
· Grazing on the Cheap in London [Jaunted]
Not to be outdone by TripAdvisor’s latest offering, Kayak has a little something up its sleeve. After hearing about what the competition has to offer, the travel meta-search king sent out a press release to illustrate what still makes it number one.
CEO Steve Hafner lets us known that he’s flattered that TripAdvisor has mimicked his site’s design, but tells us that Kayak’s caliber of results still sets it apart. Uh-oh, the travel bookings/review site feud is on!
Now, Kayak is creeping in on TripAdvisor's turf by launching their own hotel review website. TravelPost is going to, or at least hope to, take travel reviews to the next level. It promises to search over 200 travel sites to bring you the latest in reviews, information, and rates.
If we were TripAdvisor, we’d be worried. Sure, they have all the review mojo now, but they’ve kind of been resting on their laurels and Kayak is definitely up to the challenge.
Just when you thought that everyone and their brother had a search engine devoted to travel, we get one more. Adding a little friendly competition to the mix is travel review king TripAdvisor. The site launched its own flight meta-search yesterday, and now hopes to save you money in the air and to keep you away from that roach motel.
We took the new search for a spin, and it seemed to respond well to our simple requests. It lets us know that it’s searching perennial favorites like Expedia, Travelocity, Hotwire, and many more. The results include all the legacy carriers, but like so many others, leave out our Luv buddy—Southwest Airlines.
TripAdvisor / Lists / Surveys / → All Tags
The opinion-sharing folks over at TripAdvisor recently released their latest annual survey on the top trends in travel. This year's obsession: germs on a plane. We probably would have pegged cruise ships as the most likely place to come down with a nasty case of the scoots from touching an exposed surface, but apparently most people fear picking up a bug while in the tubular confines of an airplane. Out of 2,500 respondents, 28 percent were concerned about germs, bacteria, and viruses onboard airplanes, while others reported having germaphobia relating to public transit, restaurants, hotels, and airports. The report should be good news for manufacturers of hand sanitizer, Wet-Naps, and Airborne dietary supplements, as travelers appear willing to try anything that might keep the creepy crawlies away.