Using Social Media for Travel – Gtrot
This is day two of my search for the top social media travel applications. I was going to review TravelAdvisor, but upon entering the site, I realized it was just a site like Travelocity or Expedia. So I’m not quite sure why they came up on several social media articles I’ve come across, but for now I will eliminate them from my review as I do not consider their site social media. Instead, I will be looking at Gtrot- a social media site that I am surprisingly very excited about!
Upon entering the Gtrot site, users are asked to link their accounts to their Facebook account. I HIGHLY recommend this rather than simply searching for a city you’re traveling to, as you can see interactions your Facebook friends have had with the city you’re going to.
Upon logging in, users are given the option to add cities they’re exploring and cities they’ve been to. I recommend doing both so that you can get the most out of the tool.
Once you add the cities you’ve been to, the cities will be added to a map and you’re stats will show up in your profile. For example, it now shows that I’ve been to 8 cities and 5 countries. It also shows what continents I’ve been to. Very cool for those of us who love to travel and want to share with friends who travel too!
To explore a city, click on the green “Explore a City” button. A window will pop up asking to include the city’s location and dates you’re traveling. It also allows you to add a friend that is going with you and gives you the option to share this to your Facebook profile. Again, I recommend doing this as it helps utilize the social function of this tool and can get you tips from a friend. If one of your friends have been there before, they can give you insight into where you can go. Click “Save and Continue” to add this trip to your roster of places you’re visiting.
After adding your trip, a black screen overlay will come up giving you a quick tutorial of how to use the results, which I really liked! You can click anywhere on the black window to close it.
After closing the black overlay, you can see your results. Across the top are categories of places in the city, like Arts & Entertainment, Food, Nightlight, Outdoors, Shopping, and Places to Stay. Across the left hand side, you can filter these results by places, deals, events, and comments. For places that your friends have been, you’ll see their Facebook profile pictures overlayed on the image of the place. On the bottom of the screen, you’ll also see a list of Facebook friends who live or have visited the city. You’ll notice that the top bar says the site is still searching for popular places from your Facebook friends, so this information is updated on a regular basis for you.
To view a place, click on it. A window will pop up with information on the place, including photos, a list of friends who have been there, tips about the place, and a map of the place’s location. You also have the option of saving the place for future reference.
This really showcases the social aspect of the tool and is what I love about it. To get reviews from friends and others who have been to a location is extremely helpful. The information is relevant, and the content is all user generated.
One thing I love about the tool is it integrates deals and coupons from sites like LivingSocial. This is a great way to find specials in the area and read reviews from your friends to see if the special is actually worth it!
You can also message your Facebook friends who live or have been to the city to get advice on things to do there. Just search for a friend, type in a message, and click send! Note that under search for any friend, you will see photos of friends who live or have visited the city (I’ve erased these photos to protect my friends’ privacy!)
I have to say- I love this tool and will be using it not only for future trips, but also to gain insight into different cities and areas. It is one of the few social tools actually using social media, and I love that it ties in an already established social media tool (Facebook) to really provide that content users want. Gtrot doesn’t try to re-invent the wheel- it utilizes content from a variety of sources and puts it in a clean, easy to use format that I love! Overall, I give this a tool a 10/10, and would love to be able to give it more. I can’t wait to use it for trips!