Foursquare Trip Tips

One of the things I love about Foursquare is the focus on tips. Not ratings, not reviews, but tips. It’s the power of the positive over the negative. Tips from friends are even better.

So this week, Foursquare (which is a USV portfolio company) rolled out something called Trip Tips. You go to Trip Tips, you say where you are going, and you tweet it out to your followers on Twitter or your friends on Facebook.

I am at LAX, headed to SF today. So I entered San Francisco into Trip Tips, like this:

sf trip tips

And I got these share options:

trip tips URL

I decided to tweet the trip tip out like this:

My SF list is already filling up and the best part is its immediately available on my mobile phone in the Foursquare app lists tab (bottom left):

foursquare trip tips in my list tab

And here is the list as it stands (less than ten mins after my tweet!):

my sf trip tips

Give it a try with a trip you are planning to take soon. It’s a lot of fun.

#Food and Drink#mobile

Comments (Archived):

  1. mikenolan99

    1st – the great thing about Fred travelling West of the Mississippi is that I get a chance to be the first to comment. 2nd – Wife and I just switched to Foursquare, after getting frustrated with Yelp. Have to start getting used to it – sure seems to be the kind of app that the more you use, the more valuable it becomes.

    1. fredwilson


  2. Brandon G. Donnelly

    neat.i’m going to try this for park city.

    1. Parkite

      Troll Hallen Lounge @ Stein Eriksen LodgeEl Chubasco – cheap mexican

  3. Kirsten Lambertsen

    Excited to try this for my upcoming trip to Barcelona (first time).

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        Nice one! Thank you 🙂

        1. Ciaran

          Don’t walk down las ramblas unless you have your purse handcuffed to you. In fact, just avoid that street entirely.The laneways and squares are incredible though.

    1. jason wright

      i’ve read that the Barca locals are getting a bit hacked off with the sheer volume of tourists these days.

      1. kenberger

        tell me bout it– for Mobile World Congress there in February, almost the entire town is already completely booked out!

      2. Kirsten Lambertsen

        Well, I won’t be touristing much. I’ll be working. Plus, I try hard not to be an Ugly American as best I can.

      3. nycebo

        Given the sorry state of Spain’s economy and their horrid youth unemployment, one would imagine that they’d be knee-to-floor grateful for tourists and their spending cash.

  4. TeddyBeingTeddy

    Can’t they use part of that $75M to buy Rick Steves? Would be like when Sirius bought Howard Stern.

    1. fredwilson

      I dont think it was $75mm

      1. TeddyBeingTeddy

        just wanted to see if you were paying attention. By the way, mm for million…you’re clearly a PE guy at heart Fred!

  5. Richard

    Get these results to show up in a Google search result.

  6. William Mougayar

    Cool. Is it available just on the web?

    1. fredwilson

      Its a hyrbrid thing. You use the web to generate the URL or share post and it populates a list on your phone

  7. Tom Labus

    Bloomberg to DC

  8. RichardF

    I think it’s a clever way for them to get more exposure on social networks, I’m surprised Facebook haven’t formalised this behaviour on the timeline because I already see it informally on my timeline

  9. Jim Peterson

    Gonna try this. Assuming you can modify the tweet to also tag connections in that area so they see it?

  10. jason wright

    and your Foursquare driverless car will be waiting at SF airport to take you to each tip in turn.

  11. Michael Elling

    Good feature.Maybe I’m not seeing it, but TT doesn’t appear on my FS homepage. I had to click on your link.Also, why stop at cities? Go down to street/neighborhood level. I’m in Harlem planning “a trip” this evening to Chelsea. No easy way to do that on FS home page (or app for that matter). On Google I can click on the map and then nearby to get a list of options.People geo-locate and reference on maps better than lists.

  12. Emily Steed

    Cool – thanks – I didn’t know about that feature. Can you see who is making the recommendation, like on Yelp? For example, can you see the difference between a restaurant recommendation from your greasy-spoon friend vs. your healthy friend?

  13. kenberger

    Reminds of an instance of #lazyweb — which sounds good so I’m giving it a go!I’m in Paris and Rome (back and forth) over next 4 days, so I just triptipped “Paris”, and I’m assuming I should wait a day before doing “Rome” (I’m wondering if a packed, multi-stop trip will look suspect as a stream of Tweets).

    1. kenberger

      as a side note, in Paris, where I’m currently spending a lot of time, I heavily rely on @fredwilson:disqus’s list:…But that town is changing a lot, and a bunch of places are no longer there! (Bones, for example)

  14. Sebastien Latapie

    Such a seamless interaction! The recommendation engine Foursquare has been using has consistently been impressing me. It will be great to have input from friends already out there.

  15. Marcelo Calbucci

    I love Foursquare (& Swarm) and has some of the most reliable info about places / restaurants when I travel. Yelp reviews & ratings are usually unhelpful. I’ll take this new feature for a spin on my trip to London.That said, I’m absolutely stunned at the treasure chest of data that Foursquare is sitting on and how it’s not manifesting itself in the app. If you search Google for a place (say, London Tower), they display the popular times for that venue. Google is probably getting that data from Android phones. It’s super useful both to know when the place is open and when it gets too busy.That’s just one of features foursquare has not done it. They have a lot more.

  16. Chris Phenner

    Love the idea, just gave this a spin, and came away with just one CRINGE.That pre-canned copy (with an exclamation point!) is unnecessary and users should be allowed to write what they want to say, in their voice (only) — reminds of when FB used to begin every News Feed update with ‘Chris is…’

    1. fredwilson

      great feedback

      1. Chimpwithcans

        it would be cool to allow a ‘suggestor’ to leave a personalised voice message for the travellor, as part of the places link. It would allow identification of the suggestor, and a story to go with why they suggest the place.

  17. LE

    I gotta tell you that although this works great in developed metro areas, anytime (including today because of this post) that I have checked foursquare in the local area that I am in (for food) I get disappointing unusable results. [1] I can check opentable for the same area and have great results. Also foursquare doesn’t understand the concept of regions. So if I do a search for “greek” instead of the geo area being expanded as it should (for someone with a car) what I get is Panera Bread as the 2nd suggestion (because they have 1 greek item on the menu apparently..) The awesome greek place that is located in a town 7 minutes away doesn’t come up at all. So there is no sense of “people who live HERE often dine THERE”.[1] Like walking into a soviet supermarket in the 60’s (not that I was ever in one of those but hey I’ve seen pictures).

  18. aweissman

    fwiw Fred, that record shop listed therein first on your list is maybe the greatest record store in the world.

    1. LE

      That’s just because the greatest record store (in Philly on 3rd st) in the world closed in 1997:

      1. jason wright

        never more vulnerable than when at the top.

    2. fredwilson

      well then i may have to find my way there today. i wonder if they ship purchases to far away places. my turnable and record collection is in amagansett

      1. whitneymcn

        Indeed they do — the store itself isn’t huge, a big chunk of their business is online/mail.Also, and even more important: they send out a weekly email (Saturday mornings) that is absolutely fantastic, and you should sign up immediately. It’s not so much the records they pick that makes the email great as it is the actual writing about those records…it’s just fantastic.

        1. marcoliver

          Great comment.

    3. Ciaran

      Shome mishtake, shurely*? That would be Sounds of the Universe in Soho, London.*…

  19. Dave Root

    I’ve avoided foursquare for years but this post finally pushed me over the tipping point. Just downloaded it. First reaction is that it gives me everything I’ve been missing in my life. 😉 Love the Trip Tips. thanks @fredwilson:disqus

    1. fredwilson


    2. Drew Meyers

      Curious why you were avoiding it? Was that intentional?

      1. Dave Root

        I just didn’t like the thought of taking the exploration factor out of the real world and putting it down on a device.

        1. Drew Meyers

          Neither do I.

  20. Ben Kinnard

    One thing worth remembering is that most people don’t have 500k(!) followers on twitter, and thus are likely to get a fraction of the value out of this as you did Fred.Do you ever set up dummy accounts to better understand new experiences from the point of an average user? Would be interesting in how that varies from your primary experience.

    1. fredwilson

      most people will use facebook and get recommendations from friends

      1. Jeffrey Woo

        I like this service because it forces your friends to do the work (find place + write tip). Otherwise, you may receive pdfs or long emails that are not organized. Will you tell us which of these you actually go to and would also recommend? @fredwilson:disqus

        1. Drew Meyers

          Yup, the disorganized emails was the scenario we were trying to solve with our “welcome kits” a few years ago. For seattle, mine can be seen:

  21. Craig T. Wood

    Tried Trip Tips, which I’ve been looking for forever. Biggest bummer is my list doesn’t tell me WHO recommended a place. Makes follow up questions and conversations impossible.

    1. fredwilson

      #featurerequest or #userfeedback. either way, thanks!

  22. pointsnfigures

    On Demand Recommendations

  23. Brandon Burns

    Foursquare’s focus on tips, from the point of view of this outsider, seems to be the bedrock of all that’s good about Foursquare.My favorite part about Foursquare is, simply, it’s accuracy in predicting what’s good. If something is over a 9.0, it’s generally a sure bet; and if a dish or something to try at a venue appears in that venue’s “top tips” it’s also usually a sure bet.Making this happen, I would assume, is reliant upon the decision to use tips vs. reviews. Instead of calculating an average of 1 thru 5 stars via an aggregate collection of tainted votes (most studies show that people have different criteria for what is worth, say, a “3”), simply asking people to leave a tip means that you can use natural word processing to determine sentiment (without the bias structure of asking for a star rating) and also pull common words to figure out the things a lot of people find worth trying at venue.I get how this works on the backend (or or at least how I assume it works) because I have a solid grasp of how tech like this works in general. Most people don’t. But when people see me pull out Foursquare on my phone (which is frequently) and then they say, “Really, I thought no one used Foursquare anymore?” and I say, “Well, I still use it because the ratings and tips are the best, because the tech does X, Y, Z,” people generally say, “Oh, wow, that makes sense — why doesn’t Foursquare make that clear?”Which is my question exactly.I know talking about how your tech is better is generally a bad branding strategy. But there are exceptions. Uber vs. Lyft is a good one (for a while, Uber simply was more reliable tech wise). And Foursquare might be an exception, too. They might want to try appealing to people with a “better tech for better recommendations” strategy, if anything because it’s true and there don’t seem to be any competitors who are even close to pulling off the same thing, tech wise.

  24. Dave Pinsen

    You hadn’t heard of Blue Bottle coffee before that tip, Fred? I’m guessing you had.The bigger problem with Foursquare/Swarm is that most people don’t travel nearly as much as VCs and the people in VCs’ social circles. Most people go to the same few places every week.I followed a guy on Twitter a few years ago who kept checking in to the same 7-11 in Texas everyday. Turned out he worked there. He was probably the mayor of it.

    1. fredwilson

      Well i guess that explains why Yelp is such a small business. Only VCs use it. Thanks. That helps

      1. Jess Bachman

        Union Square Ventures – ✦✦✧✧✧ – Staff was friendly, but was a hair in my term sheet.

      2. Kirsten Lambertsen

        The force is strong in you this week.

      3. Dave Pinsen

        You make a good point. It’s not easy to pick winners. That’s why VCs get the big bucks.

  25. fred

    stick a fork in foursquare, it’s over. i appreciate a good pivot… but.i hope the best for them.

    1. fredwilson

      Why do people like you have to be so negative and use terms like “stick a fork in”? First you are wrong but even if you weren’t wrong, you have bad manners. Grow up

      1. Richard Strong

        Sorry Fred (W) but I don’t agree that either figurative language or negativity equates to bad manners. I would have thought you valued a free discussion (within reason). Wouldn’t it be more worthwhile to ask why the OP sees it that way?

      2. fred

        sorry. i once said “stick a fork in it” about twitter. i still feel that way about twitter, but now at these valuations, i just bought a ton of stock in twitter.

  26. awaldstein

    You are a master salesperson Fred.The net of it/this to me is that none of these tools are better than the networks you build on them.I like the mechanics of what I see here. A lot!For me though, i have a massive global network on Facebook that for travel just about anywhere is hard to beat for anthing.I need a reason to switch and rebuild as you can’t airlift community. Doesn’t work.Isn’t that FoursSquare’s job to make me want to do it? You are, they are not.

    1. Drew Meyers

      Agree with you on this.Being someone that built a few years ago & went after solving this same problem with “welcome kits” — this is a step in the right direction for Foursquare product wise, but still a long way from being able to pull over people from FB. Like you, I have a massive global network of friends around the globe, and it’ll be very hard to get that whole community to migrate somewhere else.There is a severe lack of incentives on travel tips. A product like this may work for Fred, but I’m not convinced it’ll work for the average traveler without an insane tech/global network of connections. There is actually a disincentive to share tips in an environment like this… many people do NOT want other travelers to find the gems, because massive exposure to travelers often changes establishments for the worse for locals (busier, higher prices). Truly great travel advice is only available to trusted connections, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

  27. Chimpwithcans

    This looks awesome – is foursquare big out side of the US?

  28. jason wright

    i may try Foursquare one day, perhaps when my Moto E dies and the replacement phone has enough memory capacity to store apps of passing interest to me. it’s on the list.

  29. Jess Bachman

    I wonder how effective this feature is for people who don’t have half a million twitter followers.Often the “share this” CTA is akin to “do our marketing, because… what else are you using your dormant social accounts for”.

    1. Drew Meyers

      “I wonder how effective this feature is for people who don’t have half a million twitter followers.”Likely not very…

  30. Ciaran

    “And here is the list as it stands (less than ten mins after my tweet!)”I’m not sure most of us have over half a million followers!

  31. Donna Brewington White

    I’m going to SF in a couple of weeks. I may use your trip tips instead of mine!