Social Travel – Next Step in Social Travel

TouristLink - startup featured on StartUpLift for feedback

Meet Travel Companions and Locals. Find Tour Guides and Homestays. Share Experiences!

Target Audience: Frequent travelers, travelers in the discovery phase.
Website URL:
No. of Feedback Providers Requested: 5

Note to Feedback Providers:
Please note that startups are looking for in-depth feedback that gives them thorough, insightful and actionable input. A ‘superficial’ submission that does not add value, is not thorough (i.e. written in a hurry, with poor grammar, punctuation etc.) and does not offer any constructive feedback is not particularly helpful and will therefore be rejected.

Feedback tasks:

1) When first seeing the website are you encouraged to create an account? Can you tell us why (or why not)?

2) Any suggestions regarding the signup process?

3) Critique the navigation. Can you find a tour guide or local?

4) We just launched a communities section please review this.

5) What might be 1 or 2 things we can get rid of entirely?

6) One item that can be improved?

7) Anything else?

5 thoughts on “Social Travel – Next Step in Social Travel

  1. 1) When first seeing the website are you encouraged to create an account? Can you tell us why (or why not)? When I first opened the website, I saw a link at the top right where I could join. I was encouraged to join because I think this site will be very useful for me. 
    2) Any suggestions regarding the signup process? No, this process was very easy to go through. I really liked the section that allowed me to add my cultural and recreation interests. 
    3) Critique the navigation. Can you find a tour guide or local? Yes, this was very easy to use. I like the filter that allows me to sort them by ranking, newest or last log in. I also liked being able to choose the age and sex. 
    4) We just launched a communities section please review this. This section was easy to find and I have looked it over. I think this section has a nice start to it. I would like to see a way to chat with the community, like a forum. 
    5) What might be 1 or 2 things we can get rid of entirely? I spent quite a few minutes looking at everything on this site and I don’t see anything that I would remove. I am finding all of it necessary and/or helpful to me. 
    6) One item that can be improved? I would love to see a chat link somewhere inside the community section. 

  2. Running OS 10.7.5 with OPERA web browser.
    Feedback tasks:
    1) When first seeing the website are you encouraged to create an account? Can you tell us why (or why not)?
    The landing page is fairly attractive, with a good explanation about what the site does. In that regards, the landing page does provide a fair amount of incentive to sign up for those who are interested in travel. I would be nice to have a bit of a tour of what the site offers, though, before signing up.
    2) Any suggestions regarding the signup process?
    Direct email sign-up: I like that there are more inclusion/exclusion options than from the previous time I remember signing up. As someone who likes a fair bit of privacy and doesn’t like getting emails for every notification, it is nice to know that I can post something, and not be told every time someone looks at what I posted. I also like the inclusion of other social media sources outside of Twitter and Facebook (such as the addition of YouTube), and even one’s own website.
    Facebook Sign-up: I feel that too much information is being asked when signing up with Facebook. I do not think that Touristlink needs my Friends List or Custom Friends list, or my relationship interests. In that regards, I would not use Facebook to sign up with Tourist Link. Having more options over what information I share would be nice.
    3) Critique the navigation. Can you find a tour guide or local?
    I do have a complaint here: while navigation is fairly easy, there are no consistent options on the menu bar–save for the “tourist link” and “search” sections at the top of the page, the rest of the links change with each page. 
    My profile has “Dashboard” “Profile” “Community” etc… but for me to go to “Guide” or “Places” or “World” the only way I can get there is to search for something (anything) in the search box to bring up those options.
    Having a consistent menu that provides access to the “World” and other community links at all times is important and would go a long way to helping improve functionality of the website..
    4) We just launched a communities section please review this.
    Navigating the community feels a tad clumsy. I think part of this is because, while there a “Suggested” community section, there is no menu option that shows all the communities. I made a post in questions–that was easy, but I am having a difficult time finding my way to other conversations in the other sections.
    While I don’t want to make comparisons to other sites and communities, having something with better navigation from section to section like the Thorntree on LonelyPlanet.
    5) What might be 1 or 2 things we can get rid of entirely?
    I can’t see anything at the moment that I would remove.
    6) One item that can be improved?
    Besides providing more consistent menu bar navigation and navigation within the community zone, not really.
    I sort of wish I could do a video or photo show to explain what I mean… I hope I explained it well enough the pet peeves I have with the site though, and look forward to the improvements.
    7) Anything else?
    I have tested TouristLink several times, and I like seeing the evolution of the site. It has matured a fair bit, partly because of the community that is there, but also because of the changes and updates that the designers have made.

  3. 1)  I feel the website was very informative but I did feel that the pictures could be of some very exotic places or maybe something a little more to do with traveling.  The first look at the page lacked some appeal I felt.  I think it would have taken more exploring on different links before creating an account for me.
    2)  I felt the signup process was very user friendly and there would not be anything I would change with that.
    3)  I did not like that you had to install an app to create a tour guide.  I have been to sites where you did not have to install any programs on your computer to be able to navigate through their site.
    4)  In reviewing the communities section I did like the fact that you could have conversations with other members that have joined so you could ask questions, gain experiences of others, etc.  This part I felt would be very helpful before deciding to actually purchase or use the services of the website.
    5)  I would have gotten rid of the little guy that pops up who is a cartoon character.  I really feel the website could be more alluring and more inviting, like I said maybe places being pictured or some famous tourist attractions or monuments instead of a cartoon character, but the site was user friendly and I did like that you could have conversations with other members so perhaps comparing vacations, etc.
    6)  As mentioned above, the website lacks appeal to me.  It seems very bland and I feel that could be improved upon quite a bit.
    7)  I did not find anything else other than maybe a complete overhaul on the initial page not being very inviting or appealing, especially since it is about travel and that could be so easily advertised with millions of things for tourists to do and places to see. 

  4. 1. If I was looking for a travel networking site, something like a or AirBNB type thing, then yes, I probably would. Why? Well, if I was trying to maximize my chances of finding other travelers or homestays I could connect with, I’d want to sign up for as many sites as possible. Yours looks both friendly and professional, so I would probably take a chance on it.
    2. I really, really liked that I didn’t have to confirm anything from my email account. (I know others will differ on that, but I personally don’t like the hassle. I like to just jump right in.) I also like that you can sign in through Facebook if you want to. However, I’m not sure I’d want to start filling out a detailed profile immediately. I see why you want to encourage people to do that, but I’d be more likely to want to search the site first and look for tour guides or homestay offers. My suggestion is to bring people to their dashboard instead of their blank profile as soon as they sign up, but if they haven’t filled out the profile yet, there should be a little message on the dashboard encouraging them to fill it out until they do. You might also send a welcome message to their inbox that also reminds them to fill out the profile and, if necessary, a follow-up message reminding them again.
    3. Once on the dashboard, I had to really look around carefully before I saw the search box with an option to search for a tour guide or local. In general, I found the dashboard to be quite overcrowded and would have preferred this search box to be more centrally located. Again, I know you want me to fill out a profile, but I really think you should encourage this through a less obtrusive dashboard message. I don’t want to have to scroll down so far past all these reminders just to get to the search box. Anyway, I was able to find at least a few tour guides and/or locals in most of the major cities I searched on. However, it took me a minute to figure out what the “Travelling To” search option meant. I would rename this “Travelers” so that you have “Locals,” Tour Guides,” and “Travelers.”
    4. I really like the “Communities” message boards. It’s a great way for people to connect with each other. Obviously it’s new, so there aren’t a ton of posts yet, but this could be a valuable resource as interest in it builds. My one critique would be that the format is too sprawling. In most message boards, you see just the title of each thread, maybe a snippet of text, if any. But here you see the whole first message with text and then collapsed replies. To me, this looks like a format adapted from Facebook or the comments section of a web site, which is fine for, well, commenting but doesn’t work as well for longer forum discussions. If you want to really build a forum, I’d seriously consider adopting the more traditional forum format.
    5. Hmmm. I think the dashboard is way too cluttered right now, and a lot of that has to do with the huge reminders to join a community, add to your profile, etc. I hope you’ll replace these with something less invasive. Also, there are an awful lot of tabs under “More.” My guess is that “Lists” and “Passports” could be combined into one page that shows where you’ve been and where you want to go. I doubt many people will post events under “My Events.” This site is about connecting with strangers for travel purposes, not so much about inviting anyone and everyone to your backyard BBQ. And I don’t know that you necessarily need to have an activity feed for everyone (“Activities”).
    6. The profile dashboard, hands down.
    7. I just want to say that I remember your web site from several earlier passes through it, and it has improved a lot. In the beginning, it was clearly a fledgling site. Now it looks inviting and professional, and the organization is much, much better. In particular, the home page is great. Previously, I remember feeling like I wasn’t quite sure what value your site could provide to me that other travel sites couldn’t. Now that you’ve branded yourself as a travel networking site, I think the purpose is much more clearly defined right upfront. The new layout also makes it a lot easier to search for, say, tour guides or locals, as well as for cities, specific attractions, and package deals. Specifically, I like that your that tagline and intro text immediately communicate what your site does and who your target audience is, and I love that you are consistent in directing the visitor’s attention toward travel networking first by immediately inviting them to “Meet traveling companions,” “Connect with locals,” or “Find a Tour Guide.” (The proofreader in me reminds you to make the capitalization consistent, too, though! ;)) Then you move on to some actual member profiles and, finally, leave the “Top Places” and “Deals” for last, which is wise because you’re not positioning yourself as a travel guide site as much as a social network for travelers. So…good job! I think your site is ready to take off, and I hope it will.

  5. 1) When first seeing the website are you encouraged to create an account? Can you tell us why (or why not)?
    The graphic is cute and it does give a definite impression, along with the information. It looks more like a site for young, economy conscious travelers. Maybe, I’d join up to see if my estimation is accurate or not.
    2) Any suggestions regarding the signup process?
    There is a challenge these days. We are all wary about how our information is going to be used and misused. If I don’t know who you are, I am going to provide as little information as possible. I used the name and alias email that I do for market research, but if I really wanted to use your site, I would want more assurance that my information would be safe.
    Maybe a double opt-in would help. I think, I would feel more comfortable if you were referred by someone who I know . . . if I had heard of you somewhere else.
    3) Critique the navigation. Can you find a tour guide or local?
    Yes, I did find tour guides and locals, but not intuitively.
    I did find the “Trips” page fairly easily and put in the information for finding a “tour guide or holiday” in New York City. I don’t understand why are tour guide and holiday paired? That would seem to me like pairing apples and socks.
    And once the information is selected, what am I supposed to do next? There isn’t a “Next” or “Continue” button. I looked for other links, but didn’t see any. So, I click on the photo, which worked. But it’s only because there were no links. There really needs to be a clearer indication of what the next step is.
    I had to search the next page to find the words “tour guides.” “Here to Help” is good, but I overlooked it, because I was specifically looking for tour guides. Humans are creatures of habit. We have learned to look for keywords. If the keywords are “tour guides,” let me find “tour guides” easily.
    4) We just launched a communities section please review this.
    I think this communities section has real potential. Initially, seeing how many people belong to the different communities helps to “legitimatize” the site for me. There are some discussions yet, and I can see the potential for learning about different countries and cultures, making friends, etc. I do like that members of the site can create their own communities.
    5) What might be 1 or 2 things we can get rid of entirely?
    I’m not sure what you should get rid of. That would require considerably more time and exploration.
    6) One item that can be improved?
    There are a three things that caught my eye:
    (1)  Under “More” in the navigation bar, you have “Lists.” I had no idea what that meant, until I clicked as saw that it is for Bucket Lists. It would be helpful if the entire phrase “Bucket Lists” was included.
    (2)  More photos. Photos for the Bucket Lists—in a way that would be like a visioning board—a way for people to bring their dream to life. Photos in the different communities would also be a help, so people could learn about the community visually.
    (3)  I would like to see more information about the tour guides. Only 1 of the 3 guides listed for New York City provided any real information and it is a travel agency. I would like to see ways of rating the guides and the tours, so people have an idea of the quality of service.
    7) Anything else?
    That is all I can think of at this time other than the more I looked at the site, the more impressed I was with what you are seeking to do. I’m not sure the main photo on the home page or the home page, in general, does justice to what you appear to want to do with this site. 

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