The Best Vacation You Have Ever Taken…Planned by Your Friends?!

With summer quickly approaching, the one thing on many minds is vacation. When it comes to such trips, besides the money [it costs to actually go and the money lost when taking time off from work] and time [it takes to plan and the time lost from jobs], one of the most important details is personalization. Vacation-goers know what they like, and when the time comes to pack their bags and jet off, they want what they like.

Tapping into the ultimate personalization trip planning experience is TripAdvisor. This travel website, known for providing and gathering travel information, reviews, opinion-related content, and travel forums, has integrated Facebook with travel as it became one of the first eight approved partners to take part in Facebook’s Open Graph launch.

Article writer Jeff Ente [author of One Year Later: What Mrketers Have Learned About Facebook’s Open Graph] further explains this idea behind the Open Graph: “The cutting edge for Open Graph integration is Instant Personalization…If a user is currently logged into Facebook, Instant Personalization allows sites to use Open Graph data without an additional login.” In taking advantage of this new idea, TripAdvisor has created an interactive app that appeals to their users and in return gains user data from the app which shapes the website.

Welcome to the world of Trip Friends, the latest and greatest way to think about, plan, and dream up vacations that meet all of your likings. With this app from TripAdvisor, information from a user’s social graph on Facebook will be collected and those Facebook “Friends” who can tell you a thing or two about that vacation you are thinking, planning, and dreaming about will be identified.

As technical manager for apps at TripAdvisor, Sanjay Vakil, explains the app, “So as an example, I can navigate to the Los Angeles page on TripAdvisor. That page will show me people that I know who live there and people who have visited there. I can ask these people questions, and responses are curated on my Facebook wall.”

All of this data is being taken from the “Cities I’ve Visited” application that has been circulating on Facebook for the past three years. Once users accept and grant permission to the “Cities I’ve Visited” app, they are able to put digital pins into a map showing where they have been and visited. According to Vakil, from the use of this app on Facebook, TripAdvisor has over a billion pins’ worth of data; this is exactly what they are combing Trip Friends with.

This direction TripAdvisor is taking will make vacations more personalized than ever before. Users can now plan trips based on the places and suggestions of the people they trust the most: their friends. In combination with the suggestions, the global mapping feature will allow app users to actually see on a digital map where their friends are actually talking about. And with trust already established for this travel site, customers are willing to hit the accept button and start receiving and sharing their data with their friends and the company of TripAdvisor.


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