Monday, July 21, 2008

New travel style added: city stays

We already support many kinds of touring experiences from traditional escorted tours to river cruise tours. Today we added another travel style: city stays. Different operators use different names to describe these (city breaks, city explorers, etc) but they all provide central hotel accommodation and offer orientation trips, the services of a concierge, or perhaps optional excursions to sights and experiences. Some city stays might be packaged together with transportation provided from one to the other.

No matter which operator offers the city stay, they are always exciting and romantic experiences. You are soon caught up in the life and movement of the city itself, every day seems like a gift, and you really get acquainted with locals and their culture.

We now offer full support for this style of travel.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

OpenID

Over the past couple weeks we have added a convenience feature for all MyTripScrapbook users: OpenID.

What is OpenID? It is a way to reduce the number of usernames/passwords you have to remember on the Internet. If you already have an account on Google, Yahoo, Flickr, AOL, or many other places, you can use that account as your login (username and password) for MyTripScrapbook. Some 15,000 web sites are already using this convenience feature.

When a traveler claims a scrapbook, they can now select their AOL (or other OpenID provider) account instead of having to invent a new username and password. They are taken to AOL to login and redirected back to MyTripScrapbook if successful. We continue to offer traditional username/password access as well!

MyTripScrapbook is also an OpenID provider itself.  This means if you went with the username/password option, you can use your MyTripScrapbook account as an identifier at any of those 15,000 web sites that use OpenID.

Frankly, this isn't a huge advantage for MyTripScrapbook users. I expect most savvy tour operators will offer their own branded OpenID identities to travelers - and that these will be far more common than humble MyTripScrapbook. 

However, it will be terrifically useful for MyTripScrapbook to be able to coordinate services and information for travelers with their tour operator - and that's worth its weight in gold to travelers' convenience!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Group support added

Many travelers tour as members of a group from their church, lapidary club, photography club, credit union, or group of neighbors. Those groups sometimes fill the entire departure but mostly they are mixed in with the independent travelers on the trip. Sometimes there are a couple small groups on the same departure.

Even before you leave, wouldn't it be nice to see who else is in your party? And if you are a group leader, if you could post a welcome message and see who has registered their scrapbook already?

Done! And more besides. We added a history of your group tours (as well as your history of all tours) and we added nifty features for you to get more information from your tour operator's group booking system. We added the ability for the group leader to update their message whenever they like. Group leaders do not actually have to travel to use these features.

We also tried very hard not to make this a groups' management portal for the tour operator. We stayed firmly focused on providing features for the travelers (in this case, group members and their group leaders) to make their scrapbook experience more relevant and personal. These group functions only appear on your pages if you are a member or leader of a group.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

New scrapbook designs!

The new scrapbook designs have been incorporated into everyone's scrapbooks. The folks who did the work for us, Blue Object Group, also did the website for the Sweeney Todd movie, CD covers for many classic bands, and fashion covers for local nightclubs. Very hip, indeed. They accepted the challenge of heirloom scrapbook quality for outstanding travel tours - and they delivered more than I expected.

Here's a sliver of the Middle Eastern design.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Multi-tour scrapbooks

Today we added multi-tour scrapbooks. So if you went on a tour of Italy last summer and now are about to go on a tour of South America, both journals will be available in your scrapbook. As soon as we add your second tour, you'll see a new menu item "Scrapbook" that will be a contents page of your journals. (click on the screenshots for a larger version, or go see the demo scrapbook for Jane Doe on the Web site!)


Your Tour Mates section is specific to each tour you go on. So your designated mates on the Italy tour are separate from the ones on your South America tour. You can continue to update each one separately.

Your Buddy list is universal, however. Friends and family that you invited to be buddies on your Italy tour are automatically part of your South America buddy list and don't need to be re-added or invited.

As always, we welcome your comments and feedback!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Globus Irish tour

We just finished doing the research for one of Globus' tours as an example for a friend. Just totaled up 96 person hours in the effort. For one tour. But it was the most enjoyable 96 hours we've spent in a long time! Not only is the tour fabulous but we got a chance to brush up on our Irish history and culture. I rediscovered the most hilarious description of the Irish sport of hurling written by a Forbes reporter. We went through about 8,000 photos and found the most wonderful pictures for the journals. This one didn't make it.
Have fun, Lisa!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Broken link in on-tour emails

Awk! If a buddy tried to click through to their traveler's journal from yesterday's on-tour email, they would have been taken to our Home page. The link was broken. They could use the search box or go straight to the journal ok, but what a hassle. We fixed it right away but the old broken links remain in the delivered email - apologies to all the buddies who got waylaid. Jim.