Despite the enormous sums of money that have been thrown at the online travel vertical, the online travel experience still sucks.
Literally not a single website does a great job of unifying or improving my travel experience — either the research leading up to a trip or the experience while I’m in a particular city. The social sites with potential lack my network to make them truly useful. Or, if they do exist, I haven’t heard of them. Meanwhile, the ones with scale have crappy user experiences. I’d say HostelWorld is the only site close since it has all my hostel data since my first trip in 2005 — but it really hasn’t used that data to make my travel experience better. Sure, there are some regional sites such as TravelFish that are great when you are in a particular spot in the world. But overall? Online travel is a fragmented landscape dripping with mediocrity, or worse, outright crappiness.
What is Oh Hey World setting out to do? Aside from the obvious answer of changing the world (duh, that’s a no-brainer) we’re aiming to connect you with nearby people and things that are relevant to you.
As with any startup, building a product is a gradual process. Connecting you with other locals and travelers you know is a natural step 1, since you already know these people and likely want to see them again in person. You just need a simple and intuitive way to find them. Those that have traveled know traveling with others – whether that be your spouse, significant other, best friend of 10 years, or a random backpacker you met 2 days ago – is always a better experience than traveling solo. Even a solo traveler is never truly solo — they meet others constantly, floating from group to group as they see fit. Going one step further — if local knowledge is part of that equation, travel goes from good to great. Many of the best travel experiences I’ve had have been because of local expertise. Someone living somewhere knows which bars to go to. Knows where to take you off the tourist trail. Can take you to a local party, and get you a feel for their hometown’s true culture.
As of about two weeks ago, we have a new home page up that gives you a peak into what’s we’re going after in version 1.
- Inform your loved ones of your whereabouts
- Track your travel history
- Connect with locals and nearby travelers
If the proposition of a more social travel experience sounds appealing to you, go ahead and sign up to be in the first group to try our beta. Go ahead, I’ll let you and won’t bite.
As you can imagine, this is just the beginning of the journey for Oh Hey World. Stoked to see where it leads…