The travel startup scene is littered with the corpses of social trip-planning services. But Foursquare's check-ins are a gold mine of data, and it's smart enough that it knows this is a nice-to-have feature, not a business in itself.
Foursquare has always walked the line between local experiences and travel, and today it launched a trip planning feature that serves as its most explicit nod towards the latter.
Trip Tips encourages users to share details about an impending trip with their social networks on Facebook and Twitter, and then wait for suggestions to flood in. Foursquare connects the ideas with points of interest in its system and builds a map and list of to-dos for users to access on their smartphone apps.
Foursquare is launching Trip Tips a week after its founder and CEO stepped down to become the company’s executive chairman. The company’s new CEO is Jeff Glueck, who was COO of Foursquare for the past 18 months and was previously CMO of Travelocity. It also raised a $45 million venture round this month.
Friends don’t need a Foursquare account to leave suggestions and by connecting users though social media habits they already have, Foursquare avoids the biggest hurdle trip planning apps and services have always had: Getting users to download a new app or adopt a new habit.
Foursquare argues that “plenty of users” use its Foursquare and Swarm apps for planning travel in advance, besides using them in-destination. But other new Foursquare products cater more to in-market travelers than those in early planning stages.
“For example, in the fall we launched Trending This Week, weekly lists that chart the most popular new bars and restaurants in five U.S. cities (with more coming soon) based on foot traffic data. In many cases, you can click through to check menus and go directly into OpenTable to make a reservation, along with other capabilities,” Sarah Spagnolo, editor-at-large for Foursquare and Swarm, told Skift.
The company had about 55 million users in May 2015 between Foursquare and Swarm but told Skift this month it has about 50 million users between both apps. Spagnolo said that number is lower because it only reflects active users of both apps.
Data is the wheelhouse where the company’s efforts will focus going forward.
“We’re a location intelligence company, with enterprise and media businesses that are rapidly growing,” said Spagnolo. “We recognize the power of our place technology, and Trip Tips is a fun, cool new way to use our data to help make people’s lives easier. You’ll continue to see more initiatives like this from us in the future.”
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Photo credit: Foursquare's Trip Tips lets travelers share a link on Facebook and Twitter asking their followers for trip ideas and suggestions. Skift