Bouncing over the TLabs for the latest in travel tech, founder Kevin May shined the spotlight on an interesting beta called iGottaGuide Beta. I decided to give the platform a quick review for our readers.
Another minimalist design and some slick simplicity greets the passers by at iGottaGuide – New York variant (above). Clicking on the “bike” component of “getting around” in NYC let to the ever present Alpha and Beta plea for guides to offer their content, err, tours for the wanting public. As you can see below though, the walking mode of getting about reveals a number of guided tours of the Big Apple’s various thematic places.
Drilling down into the platform (you know going deeper) one gigantic problem with the service becomes imminently apparent. No matter how credible the developers are, or how diligent and trustworthy the tour suppliers may be, getting numbers of people to fork over $125 to the unseen and ill described service provider is going to be a point of pain. The image below reveals a random selection of the second choice among walking tour guides.
Marc Samuels’ three tours offered all cost $125. The description of the tours themselves is not bad, although abbreviated – but the problem is iGottaGuide clients can’t tell diddle about where their moolah is going. Trust went out the back door of this innovation about the time minimalist came to mean “not much content at all.” As a beta tester of these things since the dot com era, I must say most would stop right here and write another review. But the iGottaGuide people have a clean idea, and bits of the right build going on.
Okay, head over to the about page Phil and see what the iGottaGuide peeps are about. A great idea phrased like so:
“iGottaGuide connects local and visiting tourists to professional and amateur tour guides. Use our database to find the truly local experience you’re looking for.”
This is the great idea. But the rest of the about is about NYC tourism stats? This content buffoonery is a bit like applying for a job with the most recent job statistics, isn’t it? Aha! Keith Petri, Co-Founder & CEO, and the needed press materials are here, via some links – let’s see. Okay, now we are getting somewhere. Keith knows how to do a press kit. Well, sorta. The following question and answer from a document entitled “A Conversation With Keith Petri”, made sense but somehow puzzled me:
How will iGottaguide revolutionize the way people experience a city?
“We don’t dictate your travel experiences. We allow you to connect with a local who you can relate to and then go share an experience together. Your guide might be a shopaholic and if you are, that’s a perfect fit.”
Now maybe I am getting slow in my old age, but how is slamming me into a payment basket for $125 clams, with no link to a hub website or even a Facebook profile, let alone a resident profile that matters on iGottaGuide, giving me a choice over my experience? Oh! I can choose to be the dupe of every big city crook who signs up to be a guide at iGottaGuide? No thanks.
Okay, maybe I am being unfair. Let me investigate further (I know Mike, Pete, and Richard – I have slipped a long way). For what it is worth, photos in the press kit of Keith do have credibility, the guys looks honest and capable. Why are they nowhere on his site or at least on a Facebook corollary? Guess.
I checked some more providers, wanting to be the old positive Phil Butler. Dead Apple Tours – little info – $45, Shopping NYC – little info – $135, Sweets In the City – more info – no links – $115, Rock Junk Rock n Roll Tours – little info – no links – $29.99? I even tested the service using IE browser in case Opera support was the problem. No dice. The video suggests users can investigate guides and the “money trail” but I do not see how.
iGottaGuide, as I said, is a nice idea to help people hook up with tours at destinations. The idea would be perfect here in Europe, where tours are so common. But, for now the “cons” far outweigh the pros. To be brutally honest, Kevin was just doing his job with TLabs reporting on this one – but in a world of superior applications – and WordPress themes far better than iGottaGuides’ site? Keith should have had this in alpha testing.
For now I gotta guide too, go to Google, type in your destination (NYC in this case), click on the second link (Uncle Sam’s) when not satisfied with the first, select Ann under meet a guide, and find out what, when, where, and how she works. Book the tour once you get enough info, even call. Folks, it’s all about credibility on the Web. Make sure your brand has the right suit of clothes on before you send your questionnaire to the most read travel tech news site in the world. If anyone can surf Google and find a better idea at random, in 15 seconds, your platform needs work.