Scott Woodhouse, CMO of Travellr.com contacted me in early March to invite me and my readers to participate in a private beta test of Travellr.com, a new website he has launched. What I really liked was the fact that Scott was proactive and created a beta code “t4blog” before he contacted me. For all you other Web 2.0 marketing types out there, this is a great example of how to engage with a blogger effectively.
I released the beta code to my 850+ Travel 2.0 Facebook Group members and received some pretty favourable feedback. I followed up with Scott shortly after to get a little more information and give him an opportunity to tell you a little more about his project.
So what is Travellr?
Based in Australia, for us at Travellr, life is all about rich experiences – getting off the tourist map and doing something memorable that stays with you forever.
Be it searching for underground beats in Bristol, uncrowded reef breaks in Banten, the perfect espresso in Lake Como, or the easiest route from the airport to your hostel at peak hour – in our experience, asking locals and past visitors consistently gets you further than any guide book, travel agent or review site ever could.
We want Travellr to help people find the best local knowledge about anywhere in the world.
We want to give people quick, easy access to qualified local knowledge that’s relevant to them – making their trips consistently incredible.
Some Words from Scott Woodhouse, CEO
SJ: How long have you been in the travel industry? Are your roots in another industry?
SW: We’re new to the travel industry – our backgrounds are in web 2.0 and marketing. We’re both avid travelers, which is where we draw our inspiration for Travellr. So we’ve immersed ourselves in the travel industry and have been learning and observing as much as we can over the past 12 months.
SW: We came up with the idea for Travellr while having a beer at our local bar and talking about travel and technology. It dawned on us how important local knowledge is to have a really great travel experience, and that there wasn’t an easy way to find answers to your specific travel questions on the web.
SJ: What is your most important corporate value and how has this affected the development of Travellr.com?
SW: We’re a small startup – so our core values are about staying in touch and listening to our users, immersing ourselves in travel, learning, and making sure we have fun!
SJ: How long did it take you to launch Travellr.com?
SW: We pitched Travellr in Silicon Valley in October last year, and started our development around the same time. It took us three months to build the first internal version, and then two more months of testing and development before we launched the private beta.
SW: It’s a real challenge to take an idea off the whiteboard and turn it into software. After exploring ideas and concepts we had to make some hard decisions on what features we would include in the final product. The biggest challenge was keeping Travellr simple to use and staying focussed on the purpose of the site.
SJ: How do you plan on making money with Travellr.com or is that even important?
SW: It’s important to us that the service remains free to our users. We have a few revenue models that we’re exploring, but our focus at the moment is on scaling Travellr to a larger audience.
SJ: What is your favorite aspect of Travellr.com?
SW: We really love seeing people get great answers to their questions. Travellr has unearthed some amazing local knowledge from all around the world!
SJ: What makes Travellr.com different from other travel communities?
SW: We’re the only website to focus exclusively on travel questions and answers and doing it well. Our focus in providing a great Travel Q&A service, and we’re not trying to do things that other people do better – such as travel tips, reviews, itineraries or blogs and online magazines.
SJ: The travel industry is all about interconnectivity, how do you see Travellr.com fitting into the travel technology landscape in terms of integration or interoperability? (i.e. integrating your connect or system into other websites)
SW: We’re working on a Travellr API that will let other people query our data and take it away and do interesting stuff with. So in the future we’d love to see other travel sites use our API to compliment their own service with relevant content from Travellr.
SJ: What feature would you most like to add to Travellr.com?
SW: We’re really happy with the core features of Travellr, so we want to keep our focus on continuing to improving these. We’d really like to add FB Connect so Facebook users seamlessly log in and access our site.
My Opinion of Travellr.com
I’m always a fan of new innovative uses of technology. From a technological standpoint there is nothing particularly new about Travellr.com. The site uses an FAQ style question and answer model combined with a Google Map mashup. What is innovative is the approach they have taken in presenting the questions and answers. By geotargeting the questions and allowing multiple responses, Travellr is building an organic list of travel tips that is being categorized both by subject and destination. This information would be an interesting addition to traditional travel sites as an adjunct to a destination guide.
I see an interesting opportunity for local destination operators, guides, and suppliers to join the site and become experts for their destinations. Like most social sites, each member has a public profile that can be used to help market your expertise.
If you are interested in giving the site a try make sure to use the “t4blog” beta key when you sign up for your Travellr.com account.