samedi 27 février 2010

February 27th assignment : 2 virtual community based travel guides analysis

We are dealing with a similar business model, that is two virtual community travel guides.
On the one hand, is a wide community OS travel guide (400.000 locations), based on members sharing “tips” and advising other community members on where to go and how to make the best of it (recommendations).
It provides both a print travel guide (for the traditional travelers) & a free i-phone application (for the technology nomads). Additionally, in order to enhance its tribal/community spirit, Tripwolf has its own blog and offers its members the possibility to upload and share their travel pictures for free, with no upload limit.
On the other hand, is a“ fully inclusive search and comparison engine”, that provides full package information on the destination internet users are looking for (hotel offer, bars & restaurants, what’s to visit, the city’s night life).
Its main purpose is to make “the whole process of planning a trip much easier” and provide all the needed information on a single location : the boo website.
Thus, they both help customers (travelers that are member of their community or internet users for their travel choices) get all the details on the destination they chose for the journey, making it both handy, reliable (best on other travellers experience) and easy to get. At the same time, they help hotels & other facilities get free advertising based on the quality of the service they provided to former customers, from either the tripwolf or the boo community.
So, the next question would be, what’s in it for them, or better said : how do they make a living out of it ?
Well, first revenue source is advertising of course (banners, widgets…) through partnership contracts in order to increase the business’s visibility on line, e.g. “Are you a business owner? Click Here to promote your business on tripwolf!”.
Among the competitors, there is of course the famous Louis Vuitton city guides (for the brands’ lovers all over the world) but also other industry competitors such as (exclusive social network whose members help each other get tips & recommendations on a wide range of subjects : from THE place where to be in Montenegro to the best business lawyer in Taipei).

The model is applicable only on line and sustainable, provided it keeps its innovative & tribal spirit, for instance by stretching the business model through :
- e-learning classes for understanding the country’s basic language before the trip (with video tutorials, premium services : video conference practice with a native speaker...)
- A café where community members can meet to share their experiences, face to face (in partnership with a glocal smoothie/soft drinks’company)
- Goodies (tripwolf or boo’s shirts, bracelets, i-phone and computer jackets...), available on line in the café

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