There’s never been a better time to launch a travel app – travellers rarely leave home without their smartphones and according to new research, over half of all consumers use their mobiles for research or buying new products and services. There’s already quite a few many big names on the market but it’s some of the lesser-known apps which are potentially the most exciting. We were asked to try out Pearlshare, one of the newest kids on the block which has already become the top-rated app in its category (according to its users and their written reviews). The app is based around the culture of knowledge sharing and aims to improve your life and others through sharing and saving your experiences and discussing amazing places – your own ‘pearls of wisdom’ so to speak! Want to find cooler bars, better restaurants or more beautiful beaches? Then Pearlshare is there to be your one-stop-shop.
We downloaded the free app and its well presented, not overly fussy and has clearly laid out search options and categories. You can search for ‘pearls’ around your immediate location, recently added guides (with an option to drill down to a particular location or guide name) or even guides added by your friends. To offer a little inspiration they also have featured guides, pearls and travel writers and even some long weekend city guide suggestions written by popular celebrity chef, Rick Stein.
We checked out some of the guides. The guides are nicely displayed and feature a list of saved ‘pearls’ aka a cool place to go in a particular city. For example when we had a look at the guide titled “London – Best Brunch” there were 16 places to choose from each with their own handwritten description, their location and a gallery of photos of each place mentioned – a very nice touch, definitely the more visual a travel app can be the better!
We like to think we know London pretty well but we’d actually only been to just a couple of places on the list. This is perfect for us – we’re always looking for places away from all the usual tourist haunts so it’s really refreshing to find a travel app which doesn’t just list the most popular places voted for by the masses (sorry Tripadvisor!) We noticed that the guides are well written, this is probably because Pearlshare have formed alliances with professional travel writers and other experts to ensure the information is both reliable and of a good standard.
Another interesting feature is that with each ‘pearl’ you’ll find a comment (a punchy anecdote of a tweet-length 140 characters). This is the bit that lets you into a bit of insider knowledge about the place – a review by a friend for a friend. This aims to create a more of a trust factor and offers a solution to the ever increasing problem of fake reviews rumours which have tainted the reputation other popular review sites (…sorry again Tripadvisor!).
In the guide section, you can create and save your own guide and then instantly share with friends. For example, we created a hipster’s guide to one of our favourite cities, lovely Copenhagen and with a just a couple of clicks shared it on Twitter and (with another little click) emailed it to the friend who we knew was heading out there soon and asked us for recommendations – easy peasy! Creating the guides was a very straightforward process and as the word count was restricted and it didn’t take long either, we also loved the functions which allowed you to share them easily.
The database of guides isn’t what you’d call enormous at the moment and doesn’t cover every destination in the world but obviously this will change as it takes off and more and more travellers use the app. Overall though we’ve been won over, it’s a great app and if you’re heading to one of the most popular destinations (London, Dublin, Paris, etc.) as you’ll find lots of inspiration, good quality guides and reviews you can trust. Next time we head off on our travels, we’ll be using Pearlshare to collate all our favourite places to visit… and then of course telling all our friends about them – after all sharing is caring!