When Yakov Slushtz lost his way during a hike with his wife, he also discovered the idea for WishTrip, a navigation app powered by user-generated trail content and recommendations.
“The seeds of WishTrip were sown when one of the founders and his wife got lost during a hike. They had tried to get reoriented by using (a navigation) app on their smartphones. But since that kind of GPS technology only works for marked roads, Waze couldn’t help them get back on track. Eventually, they found where they were going and it turned out not to be very far from where they were,” shared Uri Keren, chief revenue officer of WishTrip.
At its core, Wishtrip helps people record their travels. The startup brings content together on a single platform, enabling users to access trails and ideas shared by other travellers.
A year after it was founded, the WishTrip app now has over 500,000 users and more joining daily. Today, there are WishTrippers in over 80 countries who have created over 30,000 trails. “Part of this growth is being fuelled by the fact that WishTrip operates in 14 languages. This feature allows visitors to view content from tourists from around the world,” Keren said.
WishTrip fits right in with the habits and motivations of today’s always-connected travellers. “In an age when user-generated content on social media is having a growing influence on travel decisions (and as travellers seek brands they can trust), WishTrip’s interface allows users to instantly add images, videos and even voice narration to a trip that they are recording. The final completed album can also be shared with friends and family on social media,” Keren told TTG Asia.
While addressing the evolving needs of today’s travellers, WishTrip also hopes it can help create smart destinations that “strike a balance between positive economic, societal and environmental impact”. Indeed, more of today’s travellers are looking to deviate from well-trodden tourist paths, while destinations and local communities are also searching for solutions to alleviate crowding in popular tourist spots.
Despite the obvious FIT applications, Keren was quick to point out that the app’s use spans the travel ecosystem.
“For destinations, WishTrip provides a management platform to create, manage and promote their destinations, and offer interactive, explorable, multilingual information, points of interest, and tours & activities. For local tour operators, WishTrip provides a platform to create and promote self-guided city tours and treks in nature, and an app for their customers to explore these self-guided tours independently or with a local guide.”
In allowing travel businesses to promote self-guided city tours, WishTrip also offers opportunities for branded tour content.
“Once visitors arrive, WishTrip promotes its clients by branding any trails or images created by tourists while at a site with the client’s logo. This logo also appears when content is shared on social media,” said Keren.
Moreover, businesses can use the content generated by their WishTrip customers for marketing purposes. “In short, we make the experiences available to tourists in a destination more transparent and ‘real’, and help our customers promote their destination, engage with visitors, and leverage their current visitors for their marketing. “
Beyond that, the app can help tourism players enhance service delivery, including when it comes to tourists’ safety and security.
“WishTrip also makes it easier for destinations and attractions to keep their visitors safe, via navigation and communication tools that help keep tourists out of potentially dangerous areas. In addition, push notification and live chat features facilitate a constant flow of communication between visitors and the places they’re visiting.”
Having amassed a sizeable user base, WishTrip is making several enhancements to the app. Recently, its R&D team added features that now make it possible for WishTrip users to navigate to a site. And once they get to exactly where they want to be, another new feature enables WishTrippers to navigate and explore a site or on a trek.
Keren shared: “We are planning to expand our offerings to provide a shared economy module for self-guided tours and local experiences that will allow anyone to create, manage and promote self-guided tours.”