The last thing the world needs is a new travel sharing app, right? But then who knew we needed services like Uber or Airbnb till we got them? Airbnb experienced a 50% growth in bookings in 2015 and will be taking a significant chunk of the 66 million directly-booked home rental stays forecast for 2016. Over 200 of those Airbnb hosts will be using a new app aimed at the travel and leisure markets: Pearlshare.
Pearlshare allows anyone to, well, share pearls. Pearls are the hidden gems that an Airbnb owner can pass on to their guests – the back-street bakery, the best of the nearby restaurants, the cool cocktail bars or the museums not to miss. It’s a travel sharing app that combines a dose of Google Maps with a dash of TripAdvisor, and a touch of Twitter – descriptions of Pearls are limited to 140 characters, although they can also include all the practical information you need, with photos too.
Pearls can be combined in Guides, so that as well as, say, picking out the best local coffee shop, the Airbnb owner can compile a Guide to the best restaurants within walking distance, the city’s top ten museums or the six best local bars. These can be shared online before the guests arrive, to help them with their planning. Also, by making the guides public, anyone who’s registered with Pearlshare (which is free) can also see the guides if planning a visit to a particular place.
To test-drive the app while it was launching, and to ensure it had some quality content, Pearlshare asked a handful of travel writers to provide some mini-guides of their own. I was one of the handful, and although this kind of thing happens quite a lot, and I invariably decline, there was something different about Pearlshare. A quick look showed how easy it was to use, and it was fun too. On top of which, there’s a professional team behind the app, and the Chairman is Michael Liebreich.
Liebreich is a former British Olympics skier, with a track record in founding innovative companies. He was a founding director of Sports News Television, and in 2004 created New Energy Finance, a company aimed at providing information on clean energy. Five years later the company was acquired by Bloomberg L.P.
Guides can be as long or as short as you like, so although on a recent visit to New Orleans I’d only eaten in half a dozen places, they were all so good that I wanted to give them all a shout-out using Pearlshare:
Great New Orleans Eats.
Because I live in Arizona half the year, and know Phoenix fairly well, I also put together a list of Fun Things to Do in Phoenix, which I’ll add to as we discover new ones. Being a music fan I’ve done Guides to Memphis Music and Nashville Music Spots.
I’ve made all of these guides – and several more, ranging from Harrogate to Miami Beach – public, so anyone can see or use them, though you can also restrict Guides and Pearls to your own circle of friends (Pearlshare works a little like Facebook in that respect), or keep them completely private. Why would you do that? Well, at the moment I’m working on a guide that means keeping track of lots of places in London, and Pearlshare is ideal for that too.
I’ve a feeling that the fun and simplicity of Pearlshare will lead to other uses emerging as it grows. At the moment Pearlshare has iPhone and web versions, with an Android version in development.