Stay.com, the Norway based travel startup has come out with a new version of its travel app. Last October we had a detailed write up of the company and how it became to be. For this summer, the company has made its city guides social and user friendly with making them work offline. The applications work on Android and the iOS platforms.
The app features some 116 cities which users are able to download to their phones with a simple tap. Each city guide has numerous sites to visit, restaurants to eat at and places to go. Also, not to mention an offline map that works with the iPhone's positioning system showing how lost you might be. Going offline with the city guides helps with the horrendous data roaming costs one can churn overseas.
The apps have also gone social. Users can create their own city guides that combine tips and information from the experts, but also their friends. You are able to add your important spots to the guide that you have to remember during the trip, without sharing those to the outside world.
One feature of social that I really liked with the Stay.com app is that while you sign-in with Facebook, it pulls in data from your friends regarding that city and shares the places they have visited or talked about on a map. While visiting places your friends have been to may not be a better experience for you, it does help in planning in a way where you can contact your friends for advice regarding those places.
The app and its use are completely free. You don't need to pay for anything. In our previous article on the company, its founder and CEO Joachim Paasche revealed that he has plans regarding hotel reservations that would eventually bring in commissions to the company. The difficult part based on at least my thinking is that these two actions might take place separately and thus users might not be as inclined to book their hotels through a travel guide.
Also, the hotel booking business is quite established with good relatively good loyalty programs that make it tougher for the kinds of Stay.com to snatch those users up. Nevertheless, the approach is novel and the app really is good. The speed of the app is something that's worthwhile noting too. The maps used to be graphics based, but are now vector based making them dramatically smaller (somewhere around 5MB) to download when on Wifi in your hotel, for example.