Mark My World recently came out of stealth with the release of a mobile app that aims to disrupt the space of applications focused on enriching the vacation and travel experiences of interested users. The Mark My World mobile app, currently available for Apple iPhone and iPad on the App Store, empowers users to identify places of interest that they have visited or would like to visit, and record details of their experiences at the location in question. For example, users can record details of vacation-related itineraries such as cities they have visited, hotels, restaurants and museums of interest as well as any notable experiences they have had. Users also have the ability to upload photographs of their trip taken via their mobile device in addition to transcribing commentary about their experiences at vacation spots.
One of the innovations of the app consists in the ability of users to share details about their travels with members of their Mark My World network such as friends and family. By empowering users to share data with users in their Mark My World network, the app enables users to “friend source” travel-related information about hotels, restaurants, parks and other locations of interest from people they know and trust. By ensuring that users receive recommendations about travel-related destinations only from individuals within their designated Mark My World network, the app facilitates access to travel-related content curated by a user’s selection of users within their network, also known as “buddies.” Mark My World CEO Michael Rethy commented on the genesis and value of the app as follows:
My co-founder and I both have fun exploring and traveling the world, and love sharing and receiving tips from friends and family. We were always finding ourselves with multiple sticky notes, e-mails, books, mental ideas and magazine clippings of sites, hotels and restaurants people had told us to visit – just not at the moment or in the place we needed them. The app we’ve created solves that problem – it’s a novel and social way to collect places and to access them easily. The new social network you create with Mark My World ensures that the places you save will be from trusted sources. As the data is stored on the cloud, it syncs between mobile devices, so you can always have your Marks at your fingertips.
As Rethy notes, Mark My World delivers a centralized, searchable content repository that empowers users to store and retrieve details of their travel experiences. Moreover, Mark My World differentiates from crowd-sourced sites such as Yelp or Foursquare which serve up reviews and commentary on restaurants and other locations of interest from anonymous individuals whose tastes, judgment and travel experience are unknown to readers, rendering the corresponding information less reliable and personalized. The foundational concept behind Mark My World is the “Mark,” which allows users to designate a specific institution or geographic location as a repository of content either for personal reference, or to share with other Mark My World users. Marks are typically defined in relation to travel-related destinations such as resorts, hotels, restaurants, hiking spots and trails as illustrated below:
Here, the fields in the Mark about “Table Mountain” provide users with the ability to record data such as Address, Phone and URL about a location of interest, for future reference. The “Dream Date” field gives users the opportunity to input a date by which they aspire to visit the relevant destination in the event they have not yet visited the location, or aspire to revisit it in the future. Dream Date can also be used to specify a planned date of visit within an Itinerary, which can also be created within the app. “Marks” contain fields that empower users to elaborate on an experience at a Mark using narrative or images as illustrated below:
The graphic above demonstrates how a user can annotate details of a travel-related experience such as, in this case, the difficulty of a hike, in conjunction with an image. The image shows how “Marks” have the ability to create multivalent content repositories about destinations of interest either for individual, archival purposes or for sharing travel-related data with others.
Over and beyond serving as a content repository for travel, however, Mark My World differentiates from other travel-related applications by giving users the opportunity to personalize the information they receive by way of a self-selected network of users with whom they share information about the world. By facilitating the delivery of personalized travel-related content, the application represents a disruptive solution to the problem of obtaining reliable information about travel locations by empowering travelers to receive recommendations about restaurants, hotels, museums and itineraries from trusted sources. Integrated with Google Maps, Mark My World allows users to identify travel-related destinations using the Google Maps application and to correspondingly share “Marks” with other users. Users can also share Marks on Facebook via the app and integrate “Marks” from Facebook friends directly into their portfolio of “Marks” within the Mark My World application. Available on the App Store, Mark My World is currently compatible with Apple iOS and plans are underway to expand the app to all mobile platforms.