afaqs!

JoGuru offers social networking for travellers

By Jhumur Nandi , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Digital | May 10, 2012
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It combines the features of social networking sites and travel search engines, and provides context-based travel search results depending on personal preferences of the user.

JoGuru.com, a travel social networking site launched today, combines the features of social networking sites and travel search engines. Started by a team of techies and Indian Institute of Management (IIM) graduates, the site will organise all travel-related information customised according to the preferences of the respective user.

The social networking character of the site will help the user to connect with those who have travelled to the chosen destinations or people living there, for genuine insider information about the destination.

Unlike usual social networking sites where people meet, make friends and share experiences, JoGuru.com focuses on travel enthusiasts and enables online research on destinations quick and easy, and travel planning more fun. It allows the user to find, seek and organise all travel information at one place.

Praveen Kumar

Praveen Kumar, chief executive officer, JoGuru.com, says, "People spend hours on search engines to search for relevant travel information. An average user goes through several websites to find personalised information about their travel destinations from their friends, colleagues and travel agents. This is where we actually had the idea for JoGuru. How cool would it be if someone who knows more about my destination helps me search the internet and plan for my trip? In return, I would like to help others plan their trips by helping them search destinations that I know about. This is what we at JoGuru call collaborative search and planning."

Travellers search multiple sites for destinations, hotels, airlines, attractions, reviews and social media sites to amass sufficient information to feel comfortable about a decision. However, a considerable amount of travel-related content is maintained across a highly unorganised and non-standardised network of internet sites. As a result, locating relevant information can be a huge challenge.

"Travel research needs to become more context-based. The same individual can easily have half a dozen different travel contexts. For example, travel for a family vacation, business trip, and weekend escape with a spouse, or a simple hitch hiking trip, could involve completely different objectives and decision processes. Unfortunately, none of the search engines try to understand the context of the search before throwing millions of search results. JoGuru will change this, as it will provide the search results understanding user's choice," shares Kumar on the change that JoGuru.com plans to make.

To engage users, the site will soon launch travel social games and various activities on other social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. Also, using search engine optimisation (SEO), JoGuru plans to be the first on travel-related searches. The site will have a travel wish list section, wherein the user can write about the place he or she wishes to travel to and get recommendations from other users about the place.

Other key features include social trip planner, ask an expert forum, city pages and addas - the local hangout places.

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