Going to gogobot – with you

Over the next year I plan on visiting quite a few places with my kids.

We’re hoping at least 12 states for two to four weeks at a time crisscrossing the US by car. And somehow we’re going to get work done while homeschooling and discovering the similarities and differences between our hometown and where we visit.

No pressure.Yeah. I know for sure that I cannot do this alone. It will likely take more than the five of us working together. So I have been looking for social networks dedicated to destinations and travel, and I think I finally found the right one.

Florida landing page on Gogobot. Mind you, when we travel we’ll be visiting areas near relatives and old college buddies as well as no man lands in between. We’d like to plan the trips in one place but get input from everyone and anyone with some knowledge of the area.

Enter Gogobot.com.

Like other travel focused sites and booking engines, Gogobot connects me with reviews, activities, pictures and videos about areas I am interested in visiting. It will also help me reserve a room or find flights from my area to the destination. I can share these reservations with friends, too.

There is a built in booking feature at Gogobot. Nothing new there.

And similar to sites like Yelp.com and TripAdvisor.com I can sound off about places I’ve visited and experiences of interest. I can rate them, share pictures and video as well.

But I can also track the many places I’ve already been through the “Passport” feature and find others who have been to similar places. Plan upcoming trips, allowing friends and family to make suggestions. Or use the feature that puts me in touch with area experts. I can even follow-up with folks who post reviews in case I have other questions.

Incentives include user point ranking.

And this is all done without leaving the site.

They have incentives for contributing, not that they need them. Like Yelp and Trip Advisor, you’d be surprised by how many people want to write up the details of their trips and share them with others.

Actually, you can “follow” others which at first sounds a little creepy, but this option is very RSS/Twitter like where you pretty much are kept up to date on what they’ve posted.

I set up my account using my twitter log in, but you can use Facebook too. It takes a few seconds, then you are prompted to fill your passport with destinations you have visited. You can go into the destination find things you did and rate or write them up, add pictures or video and see what others have said.

You can give or ask for advice.
Because we’re planning trips, I skipped this and went to destinations I know to see what kind of coverage they have.

I’ve actually written a guidebook on Orlando and am a contributor for a snow-sports guidebook. As suspected, popular destinations had more variety and depth. Winter Springs was lacking. So was Clearwater.

So I invoked the Get Advice feature. The funny thing is this feature allows me to post a question on what is like a bulletin board or help desk. I cannot speak to its effectiveness yet. But I will follow up here when I can.

The clincher for me was the way they handle suggestions. This group is constantly updating, upgrading and integrating suggestions by users.

Site uses GetSatisfaction to manage suggestions.

You can vote with a +1 if you like the suggestion made and you can see what ideas have been integrated.

User generated content is nothing new, it is the collaborative, organizational and planning tools that will be most helpful for me as we face the long road ahead.