Trippy Introduces iPad App, Embraces Mobile-First Strategy

Social travel site Trippy today unveiled its new iPad app, bringing its social trip destination curation tools to Apple’s tablet. The app’s introduction marks Trippy’s expansion to a new platform, and is indicative of the company’s desire to not only target travellers and their mobile tech, but also to stay one step ahead of the competition in a space that’s steadily becoming more heated as startups and established companies slug it out for the attention and money of globe-trotters and day-trippers alike.

Trippy, a social travel planning site, launched back in September 2011, plugging into Facebook’s social graph to source recommendations about every aspect of trip planning from which hotels to book to what landmarks to visit. The company is founded by J.R. Johnson, who previously created VirtualTourist and, both acquired by Expedia, Inc., parent company of TripAdvisor. In March, the startup introduced a new visual browsing experience, not unlike the interface employed by social media success story Pinterest.

The iPad version is a natural extension of that vision, according to Trippy VP of Product Development Jim Olson. “If you’re looking at our visual browse experience, it leads very naturally to an iPad experience, where you’re sitting back on the couch and killing time,” he said. “We figure this iPad app’s a very fun and interesting way to discover the world, and as we continue to grow our database of destinations and images, it just made sense that this was something we could do.”

So far, you can only use the iPad app to browse Trippy content, not create it, but Olson told us that this is just a first version, and the company has plans to integrate post creation and image uploading from the iPad in a future iteration. This would help them take better advantage of iCloud’s Photo Stream, he noted, since users could take pictures on their more convenient mobile phones and have them instantly available to the more spacious interface of the iPad. Plus, the iPad app opens up Trippy to a whole new audience, where Olson pointed out people seem much more open to trying new things.

“It’s easy to get into: you put out an app, people are much more willing to give it a try,” he said. “But it’s also something that our users, both those who want to use it on the go and those who just want to collect ideas, have suggested they’d love to have an iPad app. So it’s something we’ve created partially in response to feedback from our user base.”

The iPad app launch helps Trippy get out head of its closest competitor in terms of functionality and focus, Gogobot which has yet to introduce software optimized for Apple’s tablet. And in general, it represents a new focus for Trippy, one in which mobile takes a place of priority.

“Our priority is definitely mobile, we’re getting into a mobile-first mentality,” Olson said. “It’s just becoming more accessible, and travel just fits so nicely with mobile. This iteration of the iPad, sitting on your couch or getting off the plane and browsing some photos, we want to bring that experience to the iPhone, too, and continue to grow that and really focus on how we become a great experience all the way from dreaming to actually doing.”

Focusing on mobile is a growing refrain we’re hearing from startups, but it makes a lot of sense for apps that are focused a visual, photo-browsing experience, and also for companies aimed at travel. Trippy’s iPad app is a good step in prioritizing portable devices, and it’ll be exciting to see what comes next, both from Trippy and from others in this space as the the field in general continues to evolve.

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