One of the worst parts of travel is actually getting to your destination and being treated like cattle along the way. In that light, MakeMyTrip has launched a social application called Tripalong, which connects users' LinkedIn and Facebook accounts to post information on the user's travel. That way, you might be able to happily bump into a friend on your travels to make the process a little better. It essentially integrates your social networks and maps your travel itinerary to connect with friends while traveling. Users enter the details of their flights on Tripalong and are notified if they are ‘intersecting’ with members from their social network (who are also Tripalong members). Once users share their flight details they can catch up with their friends who may be on the same flight, at the airport and even in the city they are visiting.  Users can also make new friends on Tripalong based on their profiles and interests. The app was conceptualized and developed in conjunction with TenTenTen Digital Products, a company that specializes in creating social apps that become brand properties.

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Ramesh Srivats, MD & CEO of TenTenTen Digital Products says, “Social networks are more than just new “media”. They have changed the very way in which people interact with each other. So there's no point in using them as yet another channel to pump brand messages. In fact, in this world, brands are built by actions, not words. Tripalong helps MakeMyTrip do just this. It's useful and cool. And leverages the customer's own networks to make his or her travel a lot more fun.”

To get started on Tripalong, users need to register on and link their Facebook or LinkedIn account to their Tripalong profile. Integrating the social network will also show friends who are using Tripalong. When you add your flight details (date of travel and route), the application prompts you for the name of the airline you're traveling on as well as the time of your flight. It then shares details of friends registered on Tripalong who may be travelling on the same flight, or be at the same airport with opportunity to ‘intersect’. Friends can then choose to connect offline and check-in together to get a seat next to each other or meet at the airport. Tripalong also updates users on friends who are in the same city that they are travelling to.

In addition, whenever a user adds flight details, he/she is also able to see other registered Tripalong members on the same flight, along with their brief profiles. The user can then choose to send an invite to connect with any of them. Once the invite is accepted, users can plan their interaction off-line or via e-mail. Tripalong also enables users to notify members in their social network of their itinerary. Members can share flight details on Tripalong irrespective of where they have purchased their ticket from – although MakeMyTrip flight purchases can be directly synchronized with the app.

MakeMyTrip says that they understand the privacy issues that may be involved with sharing travel details. They say, “MakeMyTrip is sensitive to traveller-information protection and no other user-related data is exchanged with Tripalong members who are not authorized by the user. The privacy settings and networks/groups are auto-imported from Facebook/LinkedIn – thus only other Tripalong Members and the friends/social connections who the user wants to connect with, are privy to their travel information. Refer to annexure I on how to register and details on the feature of this application.”

Another service that allows you to social network-ify your travel is KLM's social network that allows you to choose the person you sit next to on your flight. Would you use any of these social services while traveling? Or would you grin and bear it on your own? Let us know in the comments section below.

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