TravelMuse aims to be the Netflix of traveling

At DemoFall, the company shows how it has incorporated Web 2.0 into the art of putting together a group travel plan.

TravelMuse brings Web 2.0 functionality to the task of group travel planning. Daniel Terdiman/CNET News

SAN DIEGO--One of the nice things about Web 2.0 is that the interactivity it promises can be applied to almost any kind of application.

That's the basis of TravelMuse's new social trip planning service, which it unveiled at DemoFall Tuesday.

The idea of the so-called Social Trip Planner is that a group of people expecting to travel together can use a rich Web site to plan and organize their vacation and share information about what they're doing amongst each other easily and automatically.

The service starts with what the company calls its "inspiration planner," which is designed to help a group traveling together--be it a family or several friends--figure out a destination that meets everyone's needs.

First, the group defines where they're beginning their trip and then specifies the number of people on the trip, how many hours they are willing to travel and how long they have for the trip. Then, they can choose tags from a long list of activities that each person wants to do.

At this point, the service produces a list of potential destinations that meet the criteria defined by the group.

This in and of itself is impressive, as anyone who has ever tried to put together a trip with a group would know.

But the service has many other features as well.

The first is a stored wish list, which the company says users could treat like Neflix's DVD queue. In other words, if the service gave you multiple trips that you'd like to go on, you can save the ones you don't choose for the future.

The social trip planner also allows users to find searched-for trips other people have created to see what else might be fun.

Then, based on the criteria a group has defined, the service offers up suggestions for hotels and other services at the destination, and as the group is putting its trip together, they can drag and drop those suggestions into the planner.

If things need to change after the planning has begun, you can swap out an entire day's activities for another by simply dragging and dropping, and everyone involved is automatically notified of the changes.

This seems like a valuable service, especially for families with kids who want to figure out a vacation alternative to Disneyland, but who don't really have any idea where they want to do. Because it offers vacationers the ability to pick and choose the activities they want from a large this, the service seems likely to be able to help people like this meet their needs.

 

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