What’s the best hotel in Aspen? According to Web entrepreneur Travis Katz, it all depends on who you are: a Goldman Sachs banker might want the luxury and cosseting service of the Little Nell, while a 20-year-old yoga instructor on a budget might opt for the more-bang-for-your-buck Limelight Lodge. Earlier this year, Katz, a former MySpace executive, officially launched gogobot.com, a sort of Facebook for travelers that lets you exchange tailored hotel, restaurant, and other destination recommendations with like-minded friends on the site and through other social networks. Gogobot, which creates stylish destination scrapbooks for users by drawing from their manually submitted reviews and FourSquare and Facebook check-ins, is based on the premise that travelers trust their friends’ recommendations over those of guidebooks or online user-generated review sites like TripAdvisor.
It’s an idea that’s taking hold, and Gogobot is just one of several new “social travel” sites that have entered this potentially lucrative online space. Gtrot.com, created by a pair of undergrads, also offers the ability to share tips with friends on Facebook and other sites. In addition, it feeds users local deals, courtesy of Groupon and similar online sale sites.
Traveling by yourself? The new tripl.com helps you plan journeys based on where your Facebook friends and LinkedIn connections are going to be. Meanwhile, the community members on tripping.com volunteer to act as “hosts” to intrepid travelers, suggesting off-the-beaten-path sightseeing tours, biking trips, or a whole range of other cultural-exchange activities.
In this social wave that’s sweeping through the travel world, everyone’s a critic—and a potential tour guide.