anthropology · behavior · community · psychology · Social · technology

Crowdsourcing the locals for travel recommendations

Uptake helps you ask locals what to do in different locations

On a recent roadtrip, my husband and I stopped in a medium-sized town out in the middle of nowhere, tired, dirty, and famished. Neither one of us are McDonalds or Subway types, but we definitely needed meat, and fast. What to do? My husband spent 10 minutes on my smartphone trying to read Yelp for a decently reviewed restaurant, which turned out to be a real dive but had somewhat tolerable pizza. Long story short, I bet this app would have helped us out a lot:

is set up to have a web community of people passionate about their local bars, hotels, and restaurants, but the key is that they let you ask questions of your Facebook friends who are local in the city you’re interested in.

When you ask questions in an open community, you’re not guaranteed to get an answer. If you’re looking at reviews on Yelp, you don’t really know who are behind them [Editor’s note: Yeah, tell me about it!]. Your friends are usually the people you trust the most with picking a great bar or pub to eat at, so Uptake takes the extra step of drilling down to the friends who are relevant to your question.

A lot of apps and services like Nomad for iPad and Trazzler let you ask for travel recommendations, but Uptake helps you ask the people who probably know best.

Local destinations still need technology, as sites like Yelp have become a stomping ground for trolls sounding off about bad experiences. Social is the key to a good recommendation, but not many services have nailed the experience yet. When I see a recommendation from a name or avatar that I recognize, it instantly has more value to me.

Uptake is in beta right now and promises a few features that aren’t available yet.

Read more at: Uptake helps you ask locals all of your travel questions (The Next Web)

One interesting trend of crowd-sourcing apps is an attempt to reach out to pre-established tribes and communities (see yesterday’s post about creating tribes through community) and trying to tap into that local’s knowledge. As the author of the article mentioned, people trust other people they know, and getting “local” knowledge is very important to us humans. We want to feel like we’re an insider, included, and not some dumb tourist who gets taken advantage of or just looks silly.

We also trust other tribe members and their knowledge more than anything else. It’s been shown we trust word of mouth and let it influence us more than advertising, and our peers are hugely influential on what we buy, use, and spend time doing. As we travel, we will also trust our peers over guidebooks on what to do, what to see, and where to eat.

I’ll be interested to see how these social peer-sourcing apps continue to evolve over time. Visit Uptake‘s website to find out more about the app.