Blogger Interview: Michael Glass from TravelByU.com
Next up in our blogger interview series we have Michael Glass from travel inspiration and tips sharing site, TravelByU.com. Take it away Michael…!
1. Hi Michael, thanks for taking the time to talk to us. Tell us a little about yourself.
Thanks for having me! Well I started in the travel industry about 15 years or so ago working for Club Med. I was lucky enough to work in the Whitsunday Islands and then got transferred to Mauritius. It’s a tough life but someone had to do it. After my return I started working as a travel agent and moved through to a management role quite rapidly. This time on the front line of customer service really served me well in figuring out the major pain points customers were experiencing.
My first experience into the online world was in a senior management position at a luxury travel company and from then on I realized that there were some great opportunities on the web. So without going into too much more detail I had an idea for a travel website and started the TravelByU project with my friend (and co-founder James).
2. You website is TravelByU – Can you explain your site to those not familiar?
Sure. The site started it’s life as a travel directory and has now morphed into a destination guide (and soon to be travel planning tool). We are focussed on really personalizing the entire travel planning experience by letting the user search for places by their interests and matching them with suitable destinations. The goal is to put the user in control of their trip from the inspiration stage through the booking process.
We are also in the process of adding interesting festivals and events to each destination guide. There are so many amazing things going on around the world but the information can be difficult to find at times.
When you register on the site you get a funky travel profile where you can add the places you have been (or want to go), along with any festivals you are interested in. We want to create an environment so travelers can share their experiences, photos and tips with the TravelByU community.
3. What are the best ways to use the internet for travel planning and research?
Use TravelByU.com! hey you had to expect that one right Ok ok if I had to suggest some other sites that I like right now they would be: Dcovery.com – a great app that lets you curate your own travel guides from anything on the web. Skyscanner.com – probably the best flight metasearch around currently and Room77.com – for hotels.
4. What attracted you to the world of digital?
I love solving problems and the internet is also a great outlet for my creativity. Being able to have an impact on how people view travel in different countries. We have turned out to be quite popular in Indonesia already which is something I could never have imagines.
5. Where are you in the world right now ?
Right now I am sitting at my desk in San Francisco, freezing my butt off as we are currently having a colder than normal winter. Plus I just got back from spending my Christmas in the Philippines so the change was quite a shock to the system.
6. Do you have a favorite continent or country to visit and why?
I have been fortunate enough to travel quite extensively throughout Asia, Europe, the Pacific and the USA so it is difficult to play favorites. China and India had always been very low on my bucket list but after visiting them they were both unexpected gems and I would love to go back.
Cambodia probably had the biggest effect on me personally as it was my first encounter with real in-your-face poverty. Definitely a life-changing experience meeting these people who had nothing but were the most generous people I have met.
Italy will always hold a special place in my heart too. The people, the culture, the lifestyle, the scenery and who can forget the FOOD! I think one day I can see myself living in Italy…..
7. What are your new year travel resolutions..?
Travel to at least one place I haven’t been to. It has been a travel resolution of mine every year for a while now.
8. If you had a fun travel story to tell us over a beer, what would it be?
Ha ha. I have so many travel stories we would need a keg of beer and a couple of weeks to tell them. Getting interviewed on Chinese TV in Beijing would have to be up there as a pretty fun story to tell though. I was with a tour group and the reporter wanted to see if I knew any Mandarin. I think the objective was to poke fun at the foreigner at first but when I rattled off a few words the interview turned out to be a good laugh for everyone… especially me.
9. What is your travel itinerary looking like for 2013?
Nothing set in stone at the moment but we are tossing up a few ideas. Black Rock Nevada for Burning Man, Myanmar (Burma), Vancouver and Central America…. but we will see how things pan out.
10. How can people get in touch with you? (social, website url etc)
Come and connect with me on TravelByU. Register at www.travelbyu.com/register. From there you can find all of our social profile on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google +.
Wow, thanks for the great interview Michael!Scott on Google+