Tech of the Week: Travel Like A Local With Wondrous App WINGiT
Images via WINGiT
One of the most pressing questions once you depart an airplane is what to do with all of your leisure time. One app is solving that conundrum with events and attractions you might not have on your itinerary.
WINGiT is a new innovation that is slowly spreading to various cities across the globe, starting in Paris and now featured in 10 additional cities: Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, London, Manchester, Bordeaux, Lyon, Marseille and Tel Aviv.
Users in those cities get to “discover cool events shared by local insiders on social networks and do what locals do wherever you go.”
And the good news is that new cities will be added weekly.
The following video explains exactly what you get when you download the app.
Essentially, you throw this app on and begin swiping to find various events around you, a search you can tailor by distance and type of event.
The best part is that these aren’t your usual tourist attractions but opportunities locals might frequent.
So if you crave that kind of experience, this is the app for you. It also comes with a handy Uber button and ability to book tickets when available.
TravelPulse had the opportunity to touch base with Alban Sayag, WINGiT founder and CEO, and ask a bit more on this wonderful new innovation that is making scouring various cities and absolute breeze.
TravelPulse: WINGiT can be invaluable for travelers wanting to experience the less heralded events and attractions in a city, what was the impetus that sparked the app?
Alban Sayag: The last couple of years, we could see a shift in urban travelers’ expectations: they now want to experience a city like a local and no longer like a tourist. On the other hand, the travel content providers have not really followed the path. Most of the Apps, websites, and other digital channels still provide extensive but typical “tourists” type of content.
If you want to know about the “off the radar” events, about what really makes the “heart” of a city, you need to listen to what the locals are talking about. And nowadays, people talk on social networks. We therefore had to develop a technology detecting the most talked about events on social networks, fetching the information directly from the source, i.e. the locals.
TP: Can you explain a bit what happens behind the scenes? What technology is at play that gives the user a breakdown of all the exciting events taking place in the area?
AS: WINGiT is based a powerful proprietary algorithm that continuously listen to public conversations on social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Meetup…). It scans & filters billions of posts to discover the cool events shared by locals on social networks to help urban travelers experience what locals do wherever they go. Of course we cannot reveal the magic behind this algorithm, but it uses advanced techniques of semantic analysis, data matching and data modelling, in a big data constraining environment.
Very recently, we announced a major improvement version of our algorithm that enables us to offer in one click and at no cost our last-minute events service all over the world. Opening any new city in the world now takes us a couple of hours and costs us zero. That’s unique on the market!
TP: Now it seems as though some events are off the beaten path. What determines a great WINGiT event or attraction over the usual fare?
AS: On a real-time basis, we are ranking events based on a score that we call “social buzz." The formula behind the Social buzz is confidential, but basically it is looking at the popularity of a particular event on social networks.
In addition to that, our algorithm analyzes the “quality” of the person who initially wrote the post (is he or she an influencer, a promoter, an artist, etc…).
Using the above, Wingit determines if it is a “great” event or not.
TP: You incorporate Uber beautifully into the app. Is Uber a WINGiT partner? Do you have plans to incorporate other entities like Lyft?
AS: Uber is indeed a partner, and a very strategic one. The deep integration of Uber’s API ultimately gives a better service to our common users. But our partnership with Uber goes far beyond that. It goes from revenue sharing to joint marketing actions. We do not have any plan to incorporate other partners. Uber is today the only one having the true global scale we are looking for. WINGiT ambitions to be in over 200 cities by the end of 2016 and we want the in-app transportation service to be available in most of them. That, only Uber can provide.
TP: What should users expect from the exciting service in the next year and beyond?
AS: When it comes to meeting someone for obvious “flirting” purpose, you have plenty of cool options – all the Tinders and alike.
But if you want to just meet some cool new people to hang out with, especially when you’re traveling… then there’s noting really exciting left.
We think that Wingit has a strong role to play here. You can expect pretty exciting new features coming up early 2016.
Users can also expect a much streamlined ticket buying experience, fully integrated into the app, irrespective of the partner. They can also expect some new value-added services on top of the buying ticket and Uber ride ones.
TravelPulse: Where would you like to see WINGiT in five years or more?
Alban Sayag: Today, TimeOut is hardly the only player providing a decent “things to do” service on a global scale to travelers and resident. With thousands of staff around the world and a fragile “brand licensing” model, they cover 107 cities.
In 3 to 5 years from now, we see Wingit far ahead from them. We will cover at least three times more cities, with 100 times less staff and in a much more real-time time and geo-targeted manner. All of that under one single company.
TP: Lastly, is there anything you think our readers might love to know about WINGiT?
AS: We are quietly launching a private B2B API to targeted strategic partners. So people can expect to benefit from the high-value Wingit content on many other supports than the Wingit App itself.
We are also investing massively in improving our technology. By making our algorithm always smarter (for example using machine learning and/or AI technologies), we will continuously improve the relevance of the content delivered to our users.
Even locals in the area can find great value from a technology like WINGiT, despite the app being in its infancy.
I popped this on here in Los Angeles and found a wealth of events I had no idea were taking place daily.
You are instantly hit with the value this will have the moment you step off a plane, eager to dive into a new experience in your respective holiday city of choice.
Instead of planning everything so meticulously you might consider just winging it with an app built for that very thing.
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