I just booked my travel arrangements for a trip to San Francisco and Stanford, California yesterday so it caught my attention when I discovered a growing travel community at WAYN.com. It stands for “where are you now?”and strives to be the Facebook for travelers. Naturally, the London based company decided to incorporate Facebook connect into its recent redesign which aimed to create a cleaner interface to improve ease of use after early complaints that it was difficult to navigate and a bit cluttered. My first impression is that the site seems to have a fairly intuitive layout. The emphasis is not on knowing everything about all of your connections, but is more focused on forming new connections based on lifestyle and travel preferences.
The site competes with TripAdvisor to provide tips and reviews along with users blog posts about their experiences at hotels, restaurants, and entertainment attractions. A mobile app launch will allow WAYN users to check in to locations much like a user of Foursquare would do. WAYN formed in 2002 and took off in 2005 reaching people across the globe, and reaching 15 million users this year. I am unsure what percentage pay for VIP membership, but a TechCrunch article from May 3, 2010 says the company has finally turned a profit. Tourism offices worldwide serve as major contributors to this revenue as they pay for advertising, looking to draw attention and interest to their destinations.
Overall, I would say this site makes traveling seem unrealistically simple, although built in hotel reservation capabilities make planning a short trip or extended vacation a bit easier. I couldn’t help but laugh at the intro video which depicts a young woman from New York meeting her friends in London to party the night away. Maybe for a wealthy young professional, or a frequent business traveler WAYN might hold some extra value, but for the unemployed college grad who travels one week a year I can’t see myself making the effort to establish a network on WAYN. While for now, I will stick with this blog and Flickr for posting my travel updates, perhaps in the near future, I will return to this interesting find and discover greater value.
For adventurous singles looking to find love with romantic travel plans, check out the WAYN team’s latest spin-off: WAYNDating.