Social travel sites start to rethink their tactics
Twigmore points out that there is not enough regular travel to power a social travel service. Many social travel apps are changing direction.
In November Twigmore, a New York City start-up launched a Facebook-based social travel service into a crowded field — helping people plan trips by turning to their friends. One of the site’s key features was the ability for people to reach out to friends of friends around the world to get on-the-ground tips from locals.
But after a recent update that included the release of a global friend map, the company realized its fortunes didn’t lie in simply spurring on more travel. Why? Because as much as people like to travel, they only do it a few times a year — and that’s not enough to support a business.
Now, the company is pivoting away from pure social travel to more of an international friend-finding service as it builds off the success of the friend map, which has become Twigmore’s most popular feature. Co-founder and CEO Stephen Smyth told me the service grew 220 percent after the map launched in March, with users responding well to the idea of finding a global friend — not just for travel but for all kinds of uses. He said it’s helping people discover pen pals, conduct language exchanges or find business opportunities as well.