Try crowd-sourcing for advice on your next vacation
Posted on Thursday 18 August 2011
in Shoestring, Short Breaks
Crowd-sourcing is currently a buzz word that many individuals have heard of but few actually know what it means. According to BNET, the CBS Interactive Business Network, this term is also known as fansourcing, crowdcasting, open sourcing, open innovation, mass collaboration and many other names. However, despite its many complicated monikers, and jargony name, the definition of the term is pretty simple. Essentially, crowd-sourcing is when individuals tap into the collective intelligence of a group in order to brainstorm ideas and benefit from the experiences of others. While this technique is typically utilized by businesses, it can also be used by would-be vacationers to compile ideas and advice that can help them plan their next getaway.
The New York Times reports that crowd-sourcing for travel tips is a great way to have the most successful and satisfying vacation experiences possible. According to Michelle Higgins, who writes for the travel section of the media outlet and has taken trips all over the world, the best getaways she has ever had were all planned using information that she gleaned from her friends and acquaintances.
When traveling to a city one is unfamiliar with, it can be extremely helpful to information ahead of time on what to expect. For instance, Higgins shared that a friend of hers essentially saved her last trip to the Riviera Maya in Mexico by informing her that it is best to see the attractions of Tulum early in the day before the crowds arrive. Similarly, she enjoyed the most delicious sushi of her entire life while in Tokyo, Japan by eating at a restaurant she never would have known about had her husband's former roommate not shared its name and location with her.
While individuals have been asking their friends and acquaintances for travel advice since the dawn of time, this practice is small potatoes in the world of crowd-sourcing. BNET reports that when businesses utilize this technique, they often tap into the collective minds of tens of thousands of individuals. For instance, Proctor and Gamble routinely surveys 90,000 chemists on their advice for solutions to research and development issues. In return, these individuals have a chance to win cash prizes.
In order to crowd-source like the big boys do, would-be vacationers may want to take their search to the internet. While friends and family are always a fantastic source of advice, there are only so many of them, and it is possible that they do not possess the knowledge that travelers may be looking for. Luckily for these people, several different websites completely dedicated to helping individuals crowd-source have recently cropped up on the internet that travelers can use to brainstorm trip itineraries and gain helpful advice.
A few travel crowd-sourcing sites include Gogobot.com and Afar.com, both of which were just created this past year. These services allow users to ask questions about trips that can then be answered by the general community on the website and on Facebook. Examples of questions frequently asked and answered include "What are the best family-friendly restaurants in Paris?" and "Should we hire a personal driver to get around El Salvador?", reports the news source.
In order to utilize these services, one must join the site and fill out a profile. The first step is to take a "travel personality quiz" which labels individuals as active adventurers, leisure travelers, workaholics and many others. It then gives a list of activities you may like based on your personality, such as going outdoors, roughing it and avoiding tourist trap. After filling out a Facebook-like profile, individuals can begin piquing the brains of the rest of the community.
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