Like most travellers these days I have moved beyond just a printed guidebook for both my pre-trip planning and onsite travel advice. And I’m admitting that as the author of over 30 travel guidebooks! These days I rely heavily on the Internet, which at its best can be a powerful tool. At its worst peer-to-peer reviews, though, can be a bit of a minefield. I’m glad then to announce I’ve started writing guides for the ace new mobile travel app, Pearlshare.
Pearlshare is not just one of the enthusiastic, but ultimately amateur, travel start ups that I get approached to work with all the time. They have proper backers who know what they are doing and are committed to making it work. Founded in 2014, this London-based company is backed by the same early backers of the likes of Linked-In, LoveFilm, PeerIndex and Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
They have identified a real gap in the market that comes out of detailed research that shows that at least 30% of the reviews on the big peer-to-peer sites are fake. Their travel app brings in a network of professional travel writers like myself and your own friends to help put together bespoke guides you can use to plan your trips and also use on them too.
Like all good tech Pearlshare is brilliantly simple to use, whether using an iPhone or iPad – an Android version is in the works. The user interface is a clean, easy to follow one. Pearlshare is built around ‘pearls’, which are little nuggets of information, whether they be a bar, a tourist sight or a landmark. Each pearl has 140 characters of detail about it and all the handy info you need like maps, URLs etc. The pearls are at the heart of the system, but to help you further there are also ‘guides’, So for example I have a guide on the seven best places to drink whisky in Scotland, which is a guide populated with seven pearls. It also links into an external guide I did for Scotland Now, which backs up the information on Pearlshare.
I really like that you can put together your very own guides. So if you are off to Berlin you can group 7 great bar ‘pearls’ written by someone else into your very own bespoke guide. And the best news is…it’s free! Yup, there is no charge for downloading and using the app. It has got loads of potential uses, from travellers like you and I, through to independent business like homestay rentals. It enables their owners to put together savvy, specify guides based on a guest’s preferences. Pearlshare has already co-operate with over 200 rental hosts and their guests in designing the service.
Jim, the co-founder of Learnairbnb.com, is a fan of Pearlshare: ‘Pearlshare is an essential tool for Airbnb hosts to share local knowledge about their neighbourhood with their guests. Guests are seeking to ‘live like a local’ and Pearlshare is a powerful way to transform your guest’s trip from an average vacation into a memorable, local experience’.
Michael Liebreich, co-founder and chairman of Pearlshare explains a key way the app can fit into the travel scene: ‘The sharing economy is transforming the travel industry. By 2020 a hundred million people a year will be booking their home-rentals via Airbnb and other providers, and they need reliable travel information. They are not getting it from review sites or traditional travel media companies, but they want to get recommendations from their hosts, so Pearlshare is addressing an enormous opportunity’.
So far I’ve only done half a dozen guides, but we’re looking at working together on more ongoing. I’ll be bringing you hot off the press pearls and guides from my actual live travels, not just rehashed info culled from other sites like you often see on the internet. I’d love if you signed up and kept a keen eye out for my guides. I will put links to them all here too. You can get involved too with your own pearls and guides. Come on in and have a play!
If you’re reading this on an iPhone or iPad just click here to download the app for free.
There are links to my guides below. Watch out for more in the weeks and months ahead. I really hope you enjoy them as much as I am enjoying writing them. Happy travels!