Social travel discovery site Wanderfly is debuting its new version 2.0 site at Launch today, which extends the site’s “Pinterest crossed with TripAdvisor” approach to travel recommendations. The company, which counts Launch conference founder Jason Calacanis and Path founder Dave Morin among its investors, has had “great traction and great engagement” according to co-founder and marketing director Christy Liu.
The new version adds more robust trip-planning elements, including filtering both general and city-specific destinations according to budget, interests, and other criteria. Liu said that it’s all designed to make the site feel more like a “Pandora for travel,” by deepening discovery tools to surface more relevant and interesting content to its users.
Wanderfly’s goal is to help travellers cut through the noise common at other online travel sites like Expedia. “You’re weeding through gobs and gobs of information and you have no idea who’s writing these reviews,” Liu said about the experience of other sites. “It could be some grandmother halfway acros the world and it’s just not relevant to you at all, since they travel in a totally different way than how you travel.”
By contrast, Wanderfly’s recommendation tech pre-sifts the advice of other travellers and tries to surface only the most relevant information for users to check out. Wanderfly’s new interface is a marked improvement over the previous version in terms of visual appeal, and makes images much more of a focal point for the site. It also places more focus on users, whose activity now appears in a Twitter-like activity stream on the far right of the interface.
The emphasis on social discovery and relevancy helps Wanderfly make its case to travel brand partners. The site currently partners with booking sites like Hotels.com and Orbitz to arrange for flights and accommodation, but is also building out a partner platform in beta, which will provide brands with special tools to increase visibility on the site as a route to monetization.
Wanderfly is built entirely in HTML5, which makes it accessible on a range of mobile devices, but Liu said an iPad app is also forthcoming, and should be released sometime soon after the 2.0 website launch. Wanderfly will work well on a mobile device, which is what a lot of travellers carry with them when on the ground in vacation destinations.
Wanderfly’s improvements are significant, and should not only strike a chord with existing users, but also help the site grow its membership. The only question that remains is whether or not people will choose a narrowly-focused product like Wanderfly over something like Pinterest, but for avid travellers, the benefits of Wanderfly’s filtration mechanics definitely offer a significant advantage.