Get ready for lots of boards, photos and pinning as social travel companies discover the social power of photos and get travel inspiration from Pinterest.
You can envision that "visual" is where social travel is headed and it will be tough for the legions of social travel competitors to differentiate themselves in the rush to populate users' boards and grids with flashy photos and maps.
Trippy joined the craze this week, redesigning its website to emphasize visual browsing, led by a so-called celebrity group of investors and travel bloggers, who will be posting their pix to spur your wanderlusting impulses, whether you have travel dates in mind or not.
The advisory board includes Jason Mraz, Rachel Zoe, Anthony Bourdain, Kevin Rose, Tim Ferriss, Randi Zuckerberg, Andrew Zimmern, Gary Vaynerchuk, Chase Jarvis, Soleil Moon Frye, Soraya Darabi, Johnny Jet, Veronica Belmont, Kim Mance, Brett Snyder, Gary Arndt, Peter Shankman and Boo (the canine). (Will there be a Facebook contest to see who can identify them all?)
With Trippy, as with social-media trendsetter Pinterest, users will be able to create travel boards and pin images to them from anywhere on the Web. You can also view friends' destination photos and choose whether you "want to go" or "been there" and add and share comments.
And, of course, you can use the photos to create trips and get recommendations from social media.
And, Trippy, which debuted in October 2011, explains:
Each travel photo is geo-tagged, which helps people remember the locations of all the places they’re inspired to visit and also allows them to see their collection of photo ideas plotted on a map. When travelers are ready to turn their ideas into a real trip, Trippy taps into their social network to show friends who know about the places they’re interested in. This makes it easy to get personally-relevant ideas, creating a full-circle travel-planning experience.
Pinterest is generating more traffic than the Jersey Shore on Memorial Day weekend (OK, pick and substitute your local beach destination and holiday), and tons of social travel sites are feeling the impact and will undoubtedly follow suit.
The new Gtrot, which is shifting from social travel planning to social-oriented city discovery, attractively puts images front and center. Theree are no Pinterest-like photo pinning and boards yet, but who knows -- there's time for that in the next iteration.
Social travel site Wanderfly, too, announced a site redesign this week, emphasizing that it is venue for "visual travel discovery."
Wanderfly users can "recommend, add photos and save your favorite spots (map 'em too!)," the company says.
And, Gogobot, as part of the trend, enables you to upload photos, reviews and maps of places you've been to your personalized passport and to create custom guides. While the Gogobot passport taps into social travel's emphasis on imagery for inspiration, the Gogobot passport features predates all of the Pinterest hype.
Photo-led browsing and search indeed are inspiring.
But, the travel industry has seen this many times, with metasearch and travel inspiration sites coming to mind -- there is a rush to capitalize on a trend and then it is hard to distinguish one site from another as they all vie for audience before the inevitable shakeout.
All of the above sites do their social travel somewhat differently.
But as they redesign their user interfaces with Pinterest-like visual browsing in the forefront, they will have to labor to ensure they don't all get lost in a crowd shot.