The “Best of Foursquare” Feature Shows The Future of Travel Guides
Travel guidebooks refuse to die. No matter how outdated their content, biased their reviews, or inflexible their format, they continue adding pounds to travelers’ packs. I’m no exception: I lugged Lonely Planets on a 3-month backpacking trip in 2006 and again on a similar trip in 2012.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
The NYC list is extremely credible. Including off-beat restaurants like Cocoron Soba and SriPraPhai is, frankly, staggering. These are out-of-the-way hole-in-the-wall darlings of the foodies on ChowHound’s message boards, not usually discussed among normal folks, and yet there they are in the Top 10.
These are clearly not chosen based on popularity (number of check-ins) since many of them only fit 10 people inside at one time.
Foursquare doesn’t stop at food. Beer Bars, Museums, Outdoor Places… everything a traveler could want is there.
Now that I’ve had a taste, I want more. Here’s a short wish list for the next version:
- Filter by demographics. Examples would be “locals,” “people over 30,” or “people who have reached at least Level 5 Bento Badge.”
- Itineraries. Tap into location data and public transit (or driving) data to assemble days that give a mixture of a city’s best.
- Traveler Type. Surface the best places for different traveler profiles. Are you a backpacker or in town on business? On a budget or honeymooning? The ideal guide book would tailor itself to your style at that moment.
- More Visual. This user interface focuses on information, not emotion. Use high-quality photos that foursquare users have left at the venues to inspire wanderlust.
- Celebrity picks. Mario Batali, for example, uses Foursquare. I trust him to recommend great food so foursquare could whitelist certain authorities’ suggestions for the “Best Of” sections. Partnership with ChefsFeed, perhaps?
- Broader Geographic Definitions. Cities are necessary, but people often travel to regions, not just cities. Southern California, Delaware, or Rajasthan would all be useful.
- Mobile 'Nuff said.
As a new resident of the Bay Area, I’m excited to dig into the Best of San Francisco. Burrito time!