Startup Weekend and Brightkite Founders Join Forces to Build a Better Travel Guide

January 29, 2014

10:00 am

“I think a lot of the worlds problems would be fixed if we traveled more. It teaches you empathy, patience and most importantly shows you the complexity of how big the world can be.”  This is what’s fueling Andrew Hyde’s fire. “I’ve had a few of those days traveling where everything just worked out better than I ever could have expected…I was in the right place at the right time and sequentially had experiences that built on each other showing me amazing things about the culture, place and people that made where I’m traveling what it is. I became obsessed with this.

This obsession evolved into Inside Travel Guides, the new, mobile-friendly collection of travel guides written by locals spanning the globe.  Hyde, former Startup Weekend founder and unofficial Boulder community czar, is joined by fellow travel junkie and Brightkite / Forkly founder, Brady Becker.

Taking on the Establishment

Although far from a nascent space, Hyde and Becker aren’t deterred by the ubiquitous competition surrounding travel guides.  In fact, it’s the competition’s one-note approach that inspired the Boulder-duo’s latest project.

“It seems like everyone strives to have a local experience whenever they travel. I always hear things like ‘eat where the locals eat’, but travel guides are usually never written by the locals,” says Hyde.  Inside Travel Guides, conversely, only accepts guides written by those have lived in the city.andrew hyde

And instead of providing a directory of every museum, restaurant, and hotel in a given destination – like a Lonely Planet – Inside Guides provide a more limited itinerary, targeting those going on shorter, three-day vacations.  “We noticed people are having shorter trips and would like to have a better time on their weekend or week away from work,” adds Hyde.

Currently, Inside Travel Guides (or more simply – serves 17 destinations, including both big cities (New York, LA, London, Paris) and small (Boulder, Kauai, Park City).  They hope to grow this number to 100 by year’s end.  At launch, the guides include an impressive list of authors including Foodzie co-founder Emily LaFave (San Francisco), Senior Mapquest Engineer Ryan Wanger (Boulder), and VP of Marketing at PressPay, Rick Bakas (Napa Valley).  Authors earn an even 50/50 split of guide sales (priced at $10), which Hyde believes has the potential to be extremely lucrative, “we hope will be the best paid piece of freelance they do this year. I’d love to see writers make their living off of guides.”  Those interested in contributing can apply here.

Last – and certainly not the least point of differentiation – is the design.  This was a focal point as the duo saw a huge need for digital content and guides that work on smartphones; and what they built is fully responsive, beautiful, and intuitive.

As Hyde so simply sums it up, “We combined local knowledge with a great digital app design and hopefully have built a better travel guide.

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When Zach Davis isn’t getting lost in the mountains, he is hustling from Boulder, CO as Tech Cocktail’s Director of Marketing. He is the author of Appalachian Trials, a book chronicling the mindset necessary for thru-hiking all 2,181 miles of the Appalachian Trail, a feat he accomplished in 2011. Zach is a green tea enthusiast, die-hard Chicago sports fan, and avid concert-goer. Follow Zach on Twitter: @zrdavis.

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