This comment from Jason was worthy of promotion. Good luck with your startup!
“Two websites to share with you based on this post – Check out Room77.com. I think this may solve your problem of wanting to see pictures of the view from your hotel room before you book. It’s a very impressive site. Warning: This next site is my own personal travel-startup. I hope you don’t mind my self-promotion. I completely agree with the idea of selling your personal trip plans or itineraries. My site is Unanchor.com and anyone can write and then sell their travel itineraries on the site. Thanks! Jason”
Update: Doh! As a number of you correctly pointed out, I blogged on this topic in January. In my defense, literally everything I have ever written seems creepily familiar to me when I write it. That’s because ideas float around in my head for months or even years before they escape. By the time I write something down, I always think I must have written it before. So I’ve trained myself to ignore that feeling. That doesn’t always work out.
———- Redundant post ————
Some people are good vacation planners. I envy them. They can plan a vacation down to the last detail. These super planners find the best places to go, the easiest forms of transportation, and the best timing. If there were a secondary market for plans, I would go there to buy used vacation plans as a starting point for making my own plans.
Imagine going on vacation and documenting your entire trip in photos, videos, and a log of what worked and what didn’t. It might be easy someday. Let’s say your phone/camera has an app that creates your trip diary almost automatically. All you do is snap pictures when you get the urge, add some notes about what you liked, what worked and what didn’t, and check that your app accurately identified your whereabouts when photos were taken. Optionally, the app could blank out the faces on photos of your family for privacy reasons.
In theory, your camera could automatically detect what flight you took based on your GPS position at the airport gate and the time you were there. It would know the hotel you stayed in, the restaurants you visited, and lots more. Armed with that information, the app could link to the hotel and restaurant websites and create an entire map and trip itinerary after the fact. Your job would be limited to editing the plan for accuracy and adding your own tips, tricks, and opinions.
At the end of the trip, you upload all of your trip details to a website that offers them for sale to anyone interested in a similar trip. Let’s say a trip plan costs $1 on the site and you split it with the website operator. In time, as the database grows, customers could buy trip plans that are perfect fits for their needs.
I was thinking of this idea when I learned that there’s an app to tell you the current wait time for each ride at Disney World. That’s the sort of trip detail that can totally change your experience.
It would also be great to see photos taken by travelers from the hotel windows of particular rooms. That allows future travelers to request rooms with better views. Hotels tend to be vague about the quality of their views.
The secondary market for plans wouldn’t be limited to trips. Sometimes you just want a good idea for theme parties, anniversaries, kid birthdays, and that sort of thing.