(Photo by Stephen Babcock)
After launching blikkee last year, cofounders Elan Kotz and Jeffrey Dobin recently rolled out a redesign of the iOS app with brand new features.
The app, which debuted in Baltimore in April, allows users to get advice from locals about the best places to go in city, whether they’re on a trip or in their hometown. Dobin and Kotz developed their idea in Baltimore after distributing postcards in New York with a phone number for travel advice. They learned that people will pay to know how to get exactly what they want.
Although their goal remains the same— to provide users with great, local recommendations for the city they’re visiting— Dobin says the new version of blikkee is “totally different” from the platform he launched with Kotz in Baltimore last year.
“We spoke to over 500 of our users, gathered feedback, and re-built blikkee from the ground up to give them exactly what they wanted,” said Dobin. “From what we’re hearing, [the update is] brighter, cleaner, more aesthetically pleasing, and much easier to use.”
Originally, users just created a profile with a picture, areas of interest, and an exclusive tip on their home city. Then they swiped, matched, and engaged in conversations.
But Dobin said this Tinder-esque design left users swiping too much and matching too little. With the new blikkee, users don’t swipe. Instead, they choose a location, then a type of cuisine or recommended activity, and, finally, tap the “Get a Reco” button. Ultimately, the platform uses AI and machine learning to introduce its users to local advisors via real-time chat messaging.
Early adopter Stanley Feldman says the new up-voting feature helps him verify that he’s getting “active and respected” advice, plus he likes making money from the app’s tipping function.
“I travel regularly, just about every other weekend, and I will reach for leads whenever I do,” Feldman said. “It’s fun to connect with real people in their hometown. The recommendations are much more insightful than sites like Yelp and Tripadvisor.”
With the redesign, Dobin is still encouraging locals in Baltimore to adopt blikkee along with other users across the country.
“We’re really thankful for our early adopters who provided guidance and direction,” says Dobin, “because, without them, we wouldn’t be here today.”-30-
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