I am reluctantly writing this blog from Starbucks because all the homegrown coffee shops I generally prefer to work from: Mudsmith, Ascension, or Drip Coffee are all closed for Memorial Day. Whether I’m at home or traveling, I prefer homegrown establishments not only because I feel like I’m supporting the local economy, but because they generally offer me greater insight into the culture of a city. I’m not only referring to coffee shops, but also places like restaurants, bars, theaters, parks, and museums. I don’t just want their names and how many stars they are rated. I would also like to know what events are going on at these places from a week to week basis. This level of information is what would help me truly connect to a new city…and what typically takes me the most time researching as I plan for an upcoming trip. Is there a local artist opening that week at a gallery I’d be interested in? Are the Quaker City Nighthawks playing at such and such bar Saturday night? Is there a 5k I can join while I’m there? Is there a community market popping up that week near my hotel?
As a tourist, I want to be able to see the same ‘local-level’ options that I would have available as a native living in the city, not just the high ‘monument-level’ options I’m offered today. To get this information for Dallas, I use the Dallas Observer app, or I can follow specific twitter handles like @1500marilla, @dallasnews, or @dalartsdistrict. Unfortunately, I only know about these sources because I live in Dallas. If I’m traveling to Chicago, Kansas City, or Krakow, where can I go to get this content? If I go to TripAdvisor I’ll get a helpful list of the top sights to see, but not a single word about weekly events. Similarly, if I check Yelp, I can see the best restaurants and bars, but not which music acts may be playing the week I’m traveling.
At TripCase, we have the ability to provide this level of local content through the tripfeed, the series of messages below your itinerary item in the app, or on the right side of your itinerary item on the web. These messages are targeted to provide valuable, contextual information, which travelers can benefit from. For example, we could add a message that links people traveling to Dallas to sites like the Dallas Observer Calendar of Events. It would look something like this:
As you wait for your plane to board, you see a message in TripCase:
“Get to know Dallas better than the average tourist. Find out about local events happening there this week.” > http://www.dallasobserver.com/calendar/
Doing this on a global scale, from Boston to Beijing, would require creating a list of the best website of local event content on a city by city basis; which is why it’s not currently offered at this scale within TripCase. So, selfishly, this is a plea for someone to create a URL list, or crowdsource a URL list, that provides me with local events and fresh weekly content for every city in the world. While I wait for someone to help me compile a list or release their app, I’ll continue to spend hours before each trip scouring the web and social media trying to get this information.