Chris Stevens

Aviation. Tech.

Fun With Gowalla

I get to play with some really neat consumer web technologies as I consult for companies around Dallas/Fort Worth.  It seems that check-in services like Foursquare and Facebook Places are everywhere these days.  Many of the tech industry experts say that the check-in itself is already a commodity.  To stay relevant, those companies now need to build additional value and depth into their offerings or leverage their platform to supply other partners with unique content.

One of my personal favorites is Gowalla based right down the road in Austin, Texas (ok, it’s a long road).  My family has been loyal to them since our first smartphones arrived and haven’t looked back.  Other than our common Texas heritage, they have always had a fun and engaging user experience and the absolute best artwork that I have ever seen at scale.  Period.  From what I hear and have seen recently, Gowalla has been building depth in their service that should be exciting to see in the near future.

Since the check-in is, at least part of the time, related to your travel activity, you will probably check-in if you find a nice dinner spot or the perfect secluded beach while traveling.  This activity fits perfectly with both the social and dashboard models we have at Traxo.  In fact, my integration with Gowalla just went live today!

If you visit the Travel Sites tab within your account on Traxo.com, you’ll see the “Connect New Site” option.  Follow that link and look for “Location Services” on the subsequent page.  Gowalla is now listed as an option and we’ll ask you to connect your account.  Once you have authorized access, we will begin pulling in all of your past check-ins in the background.  It takes a while, especially if you are very active with the service, because we have to stay below a certain rate when talking to the Gowalla servers.  Shortly, you will begin to see some very neat things happening.

First, you may notice some new historical trips appear in your account.  The Traxo platform is looking for activity away from your hometown, and now check-ins will qualify as a trip and you didn’t have to lift a finger to catalog a trip that you might have forgotten about.

Next, you may notice some trips have new activities attached to them.  Take for example our real trip to New Orleans this past Spring.  We arrived at Lakefront Airport and checked-in.  Beignets at Cafe Du Monde?  Heck yeah, it’s “The one, the only” after all.  NOLA gets a mention for a wonderful birthday dinner.  Look at the image below.  These activities were taken from my New Orleans trip page on Traxo, where our trip matching logic has woven these into and around air, car, and hotel bookings that were harvested from other travel sites.  Pretty slick, eh?   Almost like I had something to do with it. ;–)

Finally, Traxo is also releasing our new Traxo Travel Score feature today.  ”Verified” activity is a big driver in that score, and Gowalla check-ins qualify just like a flight booked on Travelocity or American Airlines, hotel by Marriott, or Hertz rental car.  It’s hard to make it any easier to get a great score.

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