There is some truth to that J. R. R. Tolkien line “Not all those who wander are lost,” but when you are circling around the same area for hours, it no longer applies.
There are numerous apps out there that help navigation-challenged travelers. Google Maps can sometimes be unreliable, sometimes directing you to enter at the back of a park instead of the proper entrance. Most navigation apps available today are not tailor-fit for travelers. They serve drivers and pedestrians.
Travel navigation app WishTrip was created to serve the needs of travelers, especially free independent travelers, who want to explore a country on their own. Businesses and establishments also benefit from this because travelers can easily locate them using the travel app.
In just one year of being on the market, WishTrip has nearly 450,000 users.
“WishTrip’s mission is to help all of the different stakeholders in the tourism sector create richer, fuller, and more personalized experiences for tourists,” said Sarah Hein, director of Marketing at WishTrip in an email interview. “We believe that crafting better and more personalized experiences for tourists is the key to making tourism more viable for the stakeholders and for ensuring that the whole economy benefits from tourism.”
The idea behind the app is for tourist organizations to promote themselves through the app. It’s not a straight advertisement but it allows businesses to be included in the list of things to do or places to see followed by directions on where to find them. More than an app, WishTrip is considered as a Tourism Experience Management Platform that gives destinations and tourism businesses the power to shape and influence tourists’ experiences.
“For promotion and engagement, WishTrip creates location-based tours and treks which can be utilized in several ways,” said Hein. “A location-based tour is an interactive digital experience which is created on-the-ground and can be relived anywhere on the globe. You can literally see the footsteps that the traveler took, their pictures and sometimes even their thoughts. These treks can be found in the WishTrip app and can also be embedded into a destination’s or organization’s website. A destination or any organization can use their own treks or tourist-generated treks.”
It’s almost like having your own tour guide. Everything that a tourist needs to know is in the app and more importantly, it can save a huge amount of time, preventing users from getting lost, since directions are also included in the app. Operators that offer tours and treks also give suggestions for people who may want to explore road less traveled destinations.
The United Nations World Tourism Organization has chosen WishTrip as one of the Top 20 Travel Tech applications out of 3.000 from 132 countries for the year in September 2018.
“Having readily available and easy-to-digest tours help keep tourists engaged which leads to better and richer experiences,” Hein said. “For destinations, encouraging people to go to less traveled parts of the site helps promote local businesses and ensure that the greater community benefits from tourism revenue.”
According to Hein, WishTrip automatically creates a location-based trek for every driving or walking adventure that one experiences while on the app. Tourists can also relive their trip anytime they want. The treks and subsequent videos that are created with the app can be easily shared on social media and other digital channels.
With these suggestions, WishTrip also addresses undertourism and overtourism. If travelers see a destination that interests them more than what they usually see in blogs and shows, that’s another soul that could help decongest the overpromoted tourist spots.
Hein also addressed the issue of privacy and said that WishTrip adheres to the rules of European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation.
“We take our users’ privacy very seriously,” she said. “Mainly, our users choose when to sign up and what data to share with us. We also don’t share personal information with any third parties. Our app is a social network and businesses platform, by nature both travelers and businesses decide what information to make public. It is also worth noting that WishTrip’s revenue doesn’t come from advertising but from businesses subscribing to and using the SA’AS platform.
Ultimately, WishTrip just aims to ensure that every tourist experience is a positive one. Through the app, it hopes to turn every destination to a “smart destination,” connect local communities in every part of the globe with tourists, promote businesses of all sizes, create a support network for visitors, and break down language barriers.
Also published in GADGETS MAGAZINE February 2019 Issue.
Words by Marlet D. Salazat