Tripwolf, the Vienna-based online travel-guide provider, introduced a new version of its iPhone app, which provides some free content, but offers mobile users certain premium destination content for $5.99 or € 4,99.
This is Tripwolf's first venture into the freemium model, where it provides travel information on thousands of destinations from print guide publishers like Footprint and Marco Polo for free on the Web, but now charges iPhone users for downloads of some premium content, as well.
Sabastian Heinzel, the Tripwolf CEO, says "you'll see that we only charge for destinations with a lot of professional content from publishers. For example, our Berlin guide is paid, but our Hong Kong guide is free because it doesn't contain enough professional content."
Newspapers and other Web publishers are experimenting with freemium models, with mixed results.
"While we know we couldn't charge for content on the Web, we feel that the Tripwolf iPhone app really gives value to the traveling user, and that's why we are optimistic that users will spend money on our app," Heinzel says. "We are seeing other travel guide publishers doing this successfully (and charging twice as much as we do), and by coming professional information with community feedback, we feel we are one step ahead of the game."
After all, Tripwolf fashions itself a "social travel guide" as it combines professional expertise with updated, user-generated content.
In addition to its practice of providing city guides, Tripwolf's new version of its iPhone app offers country guides and regional guides for the first time, the company says.
Tripwolf developers in Vienna and Austrian firm Salzburg Research jointly developed the iPhone app.
Heinzel says TripWolf has never charged for content before, adding "we are curious about the acceptance."