TravelSort match service takes on ‘the Facebook problem’

Personalised travel advice site TravelSort is combining social media, daily deals and travel guides to put users in contact with like-minded experts.

Having launched in beta last October, TravelSort has just announced its official launch covering 100 destinations worldwide.

Hilary Stockton, chief executive and founder, said the site looks to overcome the problem of social networking sites like Facebook that tend to put people in contact with people they already know rather than people with shared tastes.

To achieve this, as part of the free registration process, the company asks its customers fill out a profile to match them with experts and deals that meet their taste.

Users include what they like, where they would like to go, highlight destinations they are not interested in and any other information about their travel requirements.

They are then matched with an expert user who shares their tastes and has extensive experience in one or more of the places they would like to travel.

Stockton said: “A lot of services are using the social graph like Facebook. The reason we think that isn’t totally satisfactory is that you are bound to have a lot of friends that you are friends with for other reasons than a mirror image in travel taste.

“So unless you are the kind of person who only chooses your friends based on having very similar taste in all things, it’s better if you can actually get answers from someone very similar to you who may not even be in your network.”

Along with creating a travel friendly social network, the company sends push notifications for deals that match their customers travel preferences.

Finally, users are able to take part in TravelSort auctions. These often allow people to book hotels and other travel accommodation at up to 90% off.

When the auction has finished, customers who did not win are offered other travel deals similar to the ones they bid on. This allows the company to turn a profit without bombarding their customers with irrelevant travel deals.

The site has now launched its service in over 100 travel destinations. It has more than 2,000 members in 200 cities and 30 countries across the globe.

Stockton said this was a good start but she plans to expand the service to offer more cities and more experts for the growing user base.

She said: “TravelSort was born out of many years of personal frustration stemming from planning leisure and business travel.

“As a frequent international business traveler, I loved having the chance to squeeze in leisure travel, but hated the long, inefficient planning cycle that was usually required to set it up.

“I’d find myself spending countless hours sifting through the continuous glut of misinformation and irrelevant or bogus online travel content. 

“In 2010, I finally decided to create an entirely new and more personalised approach to travel planning, and founded a team to build the TravelSort service.”

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