Gogobot launched in 2010 in the early stage of a wave of new interest in the social travel space, as a glut of new startups promised to as a new generation of companies promised to transform stodgy old travel with the magic of the social graph. Some of those players built products on top of Facebook, growing quickly thanks to the instant-scale of Facebook’s platform. However, it was a dangerous game, as Facebook could shut off access to its social graph, platform and data, and Gogobot knew that it couldn’t rely on the social network to build a business, Gogobot founder Travis Katz tells us.
While the platform remains one of the most popular destinations if you’re looking for socially-powered recommendations or reviews of travel destinations, hotels and activities, Gogobot is looking to become more of an end-to-end solution or travel concierge. People are still going to dozens of sites while planning vacations and travel, Katz says, so Gogobot wants to expand its utility with tools that will help eliminate some of the fragmented search problem.
To do that, on top of the ability to peruse its 650K reviews and four million photos, Gogobot has added features like the ability to book a hotel on the fly (on web and mobile), view realtime hotel pricing and availability, user rankings and hotel class. The startup has also been looking for ways to deepen its utility as a travel search mechanism, like filtering results based on where your friends have been, what hotels are available for “x” price and so on.
The Gogobot CEO tells us that 15 million people used the platform to plan their travels in 2013, and as the network grows, the company continues to step into Kayak’s territory, especially where search is concerned. Today, for example, the startup added metasearch functionality to its social travel platform, giving travelers a way to search for and find hotel and accommodation deals from a range of booking services, including Booking.com, Hotels.com and Travelocity. The launch comes on top of Gogobot’s recently launched “Tribes” vertical, which allows users to search for destinations or different experiences according to their style and preferences of choice.