Travel social network WAYN is to undergo a major transformation of its core offering including a refocusing of its core message to what members want to do.
The huge relaunch programme for WAYN will include a complete redesign of the site, scheduled for next week, alongside a wider repositioning of its commercial model for advertisers.
WAYN triggered the overhaul in September 2008 with the appointment of a brand auditing firm to undertake a strategic review of the business.
Co-founder and co-chief executive Jerome Touze told Travolution that the existing WAYN was considered to have “a cluttered design and was too complex to use”.
The new site has a radically restructured design and user experience, Touze said, with the existing horizontal navigation of 14 options changed to four (Find, Plan, Meet, Share).
A series of user generated content-driven tools will feature on the vertical strand including Plans, Trips, Photos, Video, Reviews and Blogs.
The new site will also be one of the first UK travel sites to allow Facebook Connect log-ins.
The existing commercial model for WAYN is also set for a major overhaul with the introduction – in phase two of the relaunch later this year – of a behavioural advertising system which will allow businesses to target users based on plans (“what are you up for doing”) they add to the system.
Touze said it is hoped the volume of information and data members will contribute to the system will be “extremely attractive” to advertisers and open a major new revenue stream for the business.
The existing subscription and point system will remain in place with the new site.
The company is also planning to open an API system for third party widgets as well develop mobile services for iPhone and other platforms.
Touze said: “We think that our users are maturing and generally more upmarket, so we at WAYN are growing up and adapting to this change.
“We realised that if we really wanted to go to the next level we have to do something radically different.”
The travel services functionality will remain the same as in the previous incarnation, Touze confirmed, with Kayak supplying a flight meta search white label and Travelocity and Hostelworld handling tools for hotels and hostels respectively.
The relaunch comes as WAYN reaches 15 million members for the first time. Around 60% of members are aged between 18 and 35, Touze said.