I long awaited last week's Lift10 event. Draining a more important number of participants every year, this conference is probably the best of its kind in Switzerland. I was pleased to have the chance to meet lots of cool people interested by new technologies and trends, and appreciate speeches of quality from specialists coming from around the world.
I particularly liked the contrast between workshops and on stage sessions. Though most of the presentations where really interesting, the real value of such an event comes from the workshop sessions. This is in fact where the attendees are put to work (in contrast of being put to sleep ;-) and also where the networking works at its best. For me, one of the highlights of the three days I spent there was the workshop “Travel 2.0” held by Matthias Luefkens. In small groups, we where to brainstorm on some questions as “How to improve trip planning?”, “What do you expect from your smartphone?” or “How do you share your travel experience?”. Some of us addressed those questions to their twitter followers as well. It was interesting how diverse and innovative the answers were.
We all noticed that traditional guidebooks are not to be the rising stars of the next decades. Often outdated, even in the most recent version of it, they also bring you to places where most of other readers are already going to. Travelers are asking for a more “social” way of planning their trips, and they like adventure, i.e. to decide at the last moment. They want real, up to date recommendations from neutral people, travelers or locals. Most of us thought that using the nowadays tools still makes us spend way too much time planning our trips (trying to find the cheapest, nicest, best-located backpackers place, etc.) and also looking for good and neutral recommendations. Travelers, like others, want tools that bring them the right information wherever their trip drives them. Most of us came up with requests for more user generated guidebooks like Serious Guide, mobile applications using geolocation to bring them interesting stuff recommended by others in the area. Foursquare was often mentioned, as it is already becoming a useful application for getting hints while you are on the road (btw is foursquare not becoming a reliabel source of information while we are on the road?).
Finally, most of us agreed that what is actually missing today is affordable internet access abroad. And yes, without this, the travelers might miss the mobile-geolocalized boom for a couple of years…