By Siobhan O’Leary
From top US sunset spots to the summer holidays of Silvio Berlusconi, Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-Il, any number of unique travel itineraries can be conjured up when travel tips from traditional travel guides are combined with user-generated content.
Based in Vienna, Tripwolf is a mobile social travel guide that does just that — it pairs travel advice from professional travel writers and published guidebooks with reviews, blogs, photos, maps and more from a worldwide community of over 50,000 travelers. Members can gather information on 400,000 destinations in five languages (English, German, French, Spanish and Italian) to create their own customized (and free) 10 to 20-page pdf travel guides.
Tripwolf currently has two publishing partners — MairDumont, Europe’s biggest publisher of travel guides with its flagship Marco Polo series, and UK publisher Footprint, which publishes the Footprint Handbooks series. A free version of the Tripwolf iPhone app (which has been downloaded more than 120,000 times) does not include access to content from these published guides, but a premium version (available for $4.99 / €3.99) provides unlimited access to the professional (i.e. published travel guide) content. Both apps feature an integrated “augmented reality” function and an iPad app is also in the works.
To add to its range of professional content, Tripwolf is actively pursuing similar licensing agreements with US publishers. The company already has a number of partners in the English-speaking world. North American ad sales, for example, are handled by the Travel Ad Network (TAN) in New York. HotelsCombined.com, Hotels.com and Booking.com are its partners for hotel bookings and Kayak.com for flight searches.
Companies can also reach the 1.5 million digital nomads who visit the site every month by purchasing preferred listings in the travel guides. Preferred listing packages offer a range of options, from translations of business descriptions to search engine optimization for a company listing, as well as premium design and targeted ad placement on competitors’ profile pages.