Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Local Picks on Facebook

What is it

Local Picks is an application built to work with the Facebook interface. It is built by Trip Advisor, a Boston based company that specializes in meaty, honest travel reviews. TripAdvisor® Media Network, operated by TripAdvisor, LLC, attracts nearly 30 million monthly visitors across eight popular travel brands, TripAdvisor-branded sites, ™,™,™,®,™,™ and™.

This group of sites make up the largest travel community in the features:
Some of the strengths that Trip Advisor brings to the table for Facebook are:
    • 10 million+ honest travel reviews and opinions from real travelers around the world
      1. 28,000+ cities
      2. 200,000+ hotels
      3. 73,000+ attractions
      4. 140,000+ restaurants
      5. 825,000+ traveler photos covering 53,000+ top hotels
The current Local Picks program is sleek looking and has all the ingredients to make it a winning local search platform for the 50 million users within Facebook's community walls. At the moment however, the data base is extremely thin on content. Simple listings are unavailable and the corresponding mapping tool in weak. I'm sure they're working on content partnerships as I type but in the meantime, it's tough to play with.

  • Trip Advisor's brand is recognizable and respected amongst travelers
  • Comes from strong social networking background - Trip Advisor knows how reviews work
  • A strong network to reach into as the application matures
  • A great fit for Facebook users who are interested in posting favorites and not so favorites for all friends to see
  • Huge SEO potential for Facebook
  • Excellent advertising opportunities
  • Trip Advisor has already delved into the world of richer media with videos and images a staple in their portfolio

While Local Picks has all the right ingredients, it really needs content to make it work. Consumers are used to having local information at their fingertips through the many local search options on the market. Downloading this application and using it with limited success will delay the adoption rate.
I think the way in which the application was integrated is brilliant. I love the idea of using the trusted Facebook arena to present reviews and statistics on a location. I'm wondering when a CPG version will come out with similar tools?

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