Travel Connected With gtrotBY: Becky Bettinger | May 24, 2011
In the connected world we live in, many of us wouldn’t think of even trying out a new restaurant before checking around on the web and among friends to see who’s been there. Ditto for traveling — and isn’t it more fun when you can involve your friends? Now gtrot, short for globetrotting, gtrot makes it easy to share travel plans, collect advice from the people you trust and connect with friends and deals in your destination.
“There are several travel sites that offer recommendations, reviews and travel Q&A,” said Zachary Smith, Co-Founder and CEO. “But we believe the best way to get ready for a trip is just to share your plans with friends. You’ll get the advice you need, without the noise.”
To get started just log in using your Facebook details; the information comes from permission-based Facebook data — including where your friends live and the places they’ve “checked in” — to provide you with a network of information about all of the places you’ve thought about going. Use this to find friends who live in your destinations and friends who have been there before.
Using your social network to find the information you need — and because everyone shares everything these days – gtrot can also email-alert you whenever a friend shares overlapping trip details or plans a sojourn in your home town. And of course you want to share your plans as well — gtrot will post a message to each friend’s Facebook wall and pull all of the related comments back into the site and associate them with the appropriate trip
If you’re traveling to a major U.S. city, gtrot’s partnership with Local Offer Network allows users who’ve shared their travel plans to receive an offering of local deals from websites such as Groupon and others supported by Local Offer Network.
gtrot is backed by Lightbank, the investment fund created by Groupon founders Eric Lefkofsky and Brad Keywell. The site was created by Zachary Smith and Robert Corty, whose concept for social travel won the Harvard College Innovation Challenge for undergraduates, and travel addict Brittany Laughlin. Since launching in beta at Harvard in late 2009, gtrot has attracted nearly 6,000 users sharing trips to 40,000 destinations.
“Online travel planning is still really mess, it’s very difficult to find recommendations tailored to your interests,” said Brittany Laughlin, Co-Founder. “Whether you’re visiting a friend in a familiar city or flying halfway around the world, we want to connect you with personalized information and deals that will make your trip awesome.”