When traveling somewhere new, most tourists get attraction recommendations from guidebooks or discussion boards. Unfortunately, these one-trip-fits-all suggestions don’t offer travelers the opportunity to customize their itineraries based on their interests. Besides that, dated books and sites often direct travelers to restaurants, museums, and other attractions that have already closed.
These are among the issues FoxTrotter is hoping to overcome.
FoxTrotter is a mobile app developed by Charif Tabet, AMD’15, Karl Bachian, SSH’11, and Cosimo Violati, SSH’12. With the free app, now available in the App Store and Google Play, travelers can get personalized recommendations from locals and other travelers at their destination.
“Whether they’re looking for activities, accommodation, restaurants, or even people to tag along on their trips, FoxTrotter users are in control of their own trip from start to finish,” Bachian said.
FoxTrotter users can input a range of personalized info into their app, including age, languages spoken, upcoming and past trips, and other interests. The app uses this information to match tourists with other visitors and locals. Once the user finds someone that he or she would like to connect with, the traveler can access that person’s profile and even connect one-on-one via live chat to help start the itinerary-making process.
Bachian imagined FoxTrotter earlier this year when he was planning his first trip to Taipei, Taiwan. “I had done my research online and jotted down a few locations that I wanted to visit. But even though I planned my trip around these ‘trusted’ websites, my local friend suggested better alternatives,” he explained. “This made me realize that the best way to get the most out of travel is to get in touch with someone in the know.”
Tabet, for his part, has been tasked with media outreach and social media communications. The architecture student worked on the graphic designs for the app and has drawn on his co-op experiences at Hashim Sarkis Studios in Cambridge, Massachusetts. On co-op, Tabet, a business minor, was able to build up both his architectural and business experience through direct interaction with clients through consultations and site visits. These experiences, he said, sparked a desire to invest in something that would teach him a career lesson—whether that be through success or failure.
“When the app opportunity came up, it was a no-brainer,” Tabet recalled. “The fact that next year I would graduate and be able to say that I’ve had a company for over a year even though I was an undergrad in college—not a lot of people can say that.”