Social travel startup, Minube, has expanded to the UK and U.S. via newly launched English-language versions of its site and iOS app. The company wants to be the jumping off point for would-be travellers, with its social travel platform and downloadable User-Generated travel guides, providing inspiration for where to go and what to see. It already targets much of Europe and Latin America, with versions available in Spanish, Italian, French, German, and Portuguese.
The travel space is incredibly crowded, with numerous startups and large players targeting different parts of the travel experience and customer journey — from inspiration, planning, comparison, booking, travelling and sharing travel experiences upon return. And while Minube’s social travel platform covers all of these stages (the comparison/booking stage is an obvious money-maker), its main focus and potential trump card is inspiration.
The very visual app enables users to explore new destinations and discover new sights, restaurants, shops, and hotels, based on various criteria like mood, distance from home, type of trip, and length of trip (or even favorite color). The source of this content is recommendations from Minube’s community of “over 500,000 real-life travellers and locals” who have shared their personal experiences, including uploading videos, and over 800,000 photos, from their travels or local area.
This User-Generated Content is also serving as another string to the startup’s monetization bow. The startup sells social travel guides for various cities, while sharing revenue with its authors. In this sense, it’s trying to turn ‘the rest of us’ into travel writers — potentially disrupting the traditional travel guide industry.
The app also provides a neat trip planning feature that ties into a user’s social graph, making it easy to plan group vacations or to ‘save’ destinations and things to do on a future trip. These travel plans can then be accessed ‘off-line’, which makes a lot of sense when data roaming costs can be extremely expensive abroad.
Minube was founded in 2007 by Raúl Jiménez. It’s based in Madrid, Spain, and currently has a team of 30.