Using Social Media for Travel – Tripomatic

Well, I’ve finally worked out a few kinks in the site design, so hopefully everything will be up 100% within the coming days. In the meantime, I’m going to continue my review of up and coming travel sites.

Today I’ll be looking at a site a viewer reach out about called Tripomatic. I hadn’t heard of the site before, but I will say I really like it! The site is very clean and displays travel information and suggestions  unlike any site I’ve been on previously.

Upon entering the site, users are asked to create an account or sign in with a social account. I decided to log in with Facebook, as I try to do this for all sites so I have a consistent presence across the web.  Once you log in, the screen will hcange to a map of the world, and you will be able to create a new trip. A black window will pop up, asking you to type in a destination and choose one from the menu that populates afterwards. Since I will be traveling to Chicago in a few weeks, I will be using the site for this trip.

Once you have selected your desired location, the map will zoom in on your trip’s location. A help window will pop up asking you if you would like to run through how to use the tool.

hAfter going through this tutorial, you will be able to see various landmarks or activities in the “Activities” tab. When you put your cursor over the activity, you will see additional information on it. The same can be done on the “Accomodation” tab, which shows different hotels across the city versus landmarks or activities.

Clicking on the activity or accomodation will allow you to see ratings, photos, and contact information. You can click on the photos to bring up a photo gallery as well. I’m not sure where the ratings come from (you can only see how many stars it has received), but nevertheless, it’s good to have an idea of what others think.

You can also add this activity/accomodation to your trip by clicking “add to day x”.

Once you add the activity to your travel plans, the window will close and the photo of the activity will be highlighted. On the left side of your screen, the destination will be added to your travel plans.

Look through the map and add additional destinations you’re interested in visiting. Also add your hotel to the plans. Tripomatic gives you directions to each destination, as well as timing estimates. For example, I’ve decided to visit the John Hancock building and the Museum of Contemporary Art. Tripomatic decides the best way to reach the museum from John Hancock, and tells me it’s about four minutes walking distance. Clicking on the estimate also allows you to switch to other means of transportation, such as bus or taxi. For some reason, though subway is available on the “transport” tab, it tells me no transports are in the area. I’m sure this is something that will be added in the future.

As you add additional destinations, you can reorder them to get a guide that make traveling to each destination easier.

In the left hand  pane of the window, you can click “Checklist”. This brings up a window that lets you make a checklist for your trip. It starts off with pre-defined items, such as Trip Date, Book Accomodation, Book Flights, but also allows you to add and delete items to your checklist.

The last step is one of my favorite. Once you have completed planning your trip, you can click on “Finish and Download” in the blue box on the left hand column of the window. When you do, you’re taken to your travel guide, which includes all of the destinations and checklist items you added.  You then have different options for the guide, including downloading it as a pdf, emailing it, sharing it on social sites, and adding it to your website.

Overall, I think this is a great tool. Though it doesn’t include social tie-ins besides allowing you to log in with social profiles and sharing it with social sites, I love it. The functionality and design is spot on, and I really enjoy the value the downloadable trip guide offers.

Items I think the tool could include in the future:

1. Restaurants. I saw bars under the activities section, but it might be helpful to have a restaurant section. I understand the complication with this- since there would just be so many in this view, but being able to see what restaurants are nearby a museum or  hotel would be great.

2. Mobile site. I tried accessing on my phone and was notified that the site will be optmized for mobile soon. It’s great to know because I think it would be great to have access to the tool while you’re traveling.

3. Explanation of reviews. I wasn’t sure where these came from, and it would be great if you could read comments from those who were reviewing.

Other than that, I love the tool!  I will try it with my trip to Chicago and see how it works!