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Social Media Portal - Profiled - Daniel Felice - Explore With Me

Staff (Social Media Portal) - 28 May 2009

Profiled - Explore With Me - Travel social network for travel information and blogs

An Interview with Daniel Felice, Co-founder of Explore With Me

Explore With Me logoSocial Media Portal (SMP): What is your full job title and role at Explore With Me?

Daniel Felice (DF): I am the co-founder of Explore With Me along with Ruth Reilly. My role basically consists of designing and developing the website.

SMP: What made you start Explore With Me?

DF: We started the website to give likeminded travellers up to date travel news, guides, reviews, tips and tricks. We found that published travel guides were out of date and didnít really cater to generation Y, so we thought we could do a better job.
SMP: What was the most challenging part of building the service?

DF: Making people aware of the site is definitely the biggest challenge we have faced. Any new website takes time to build content, which helps attract traffic, so that phase of building the site to what it is today was very challenging.Photograph of Daniel Felice, Co-founder of Explore With Me

SMP: Who are your target audience and why?

DF: Our target audience is anyone who loves to travel and knows how to use a computer. We have a variety of content which is aimed at different age groups and demographics.

SMP: How did you initially attract users to your site / service, and how do you do it now?

DF: We initially pitched the site to friends and family who spread the word about our existence. We then dropped a few links on travel forums and other social networking sites. At the moment we do not do any advertising so the website is very reliant on word of mouth.

SMP: What are your low moments of what you have been doing so far?

DF: We had a few low moments in the beginning when we were putting hours and hours of work in and felt like we were getting nothing in return. Traffic took a long time to build and at times you wonder why you are wasting your time for only a few hits a day.

SMP: What are your high moments of what you have been doing so far?

DF: Watching the site evolve into what it is today and seeing other travellers benefit from our content and social network. It is great to see our members sharing their experience with the network, giving advice wherever they can.

SMP: Now that you are established, what do you see as your biggest challenges and opportunities?

DF: As always keeping up with the ever changing world of technology remains an important factor in our success, we always have to be on the search for the next big thing and deliver the best possible service we can to our members.

Like in any business, the target is constantly moving and we need to be quick enough to react to the changes.

SMP: What are the next moves for Explore With Me?

DF: We have just secured a sizeable investment and are currently looking to continue to develop the site, bringing new features to our members. We also plan on running marketing campaign to help grow the website.

In August 2009 we embark on a 40 day tour of Europe in which we will keep our members up to date with our travels on a regular basis with our daily blogs, photos, videos and updates.

SMP: Whatís the next big step for social media and networks?

DF: With the likes of Ning and BuddyPress it is now possible for the everyday user or business to create their very own social network, and it wonít cost a cent. I donít think this will impact the traditional social networking websites, however there will be hundreds of thousands smaller networks created that all cater to a particular need or niche market.

SMP: Whatís going to be the most interesting aspect regarding social media / technology throughout 2009?

Social media is increasingly becoming popular in our everyday lives. Turn on the television and see our many news networks now have a Twitter feed. Open the newspaper and see our many journalists how have their own blog. It is a bit like the PC, at first it was predicted there would only be a handful worldwide, and now we cannot live without it. Social media is the same, at first everyone though there was no point to it, now we are seeing it everywhere we turn. It is just one of those things we are going to have to accept as it becomes more important in everyday life.
SMP: How can social media help the people that travel?

DF: Social media helps travellers keep in touch with friends and family while abroad, sharing stories and photos all while on the road. Long gone are the days of going through the travel photo album with your friends on your return, now you can do it as it happens.

Anyone now has the potential to share their experience with the world. Whether you upload your photos, create a blog or make a video, you have the chance to educate other people about your travel experience, which may inspire them to do the same.

SMP: How do you think the travel industry has changed due to the impact of social media?

DF: Research has shown that 89% of travellers trust recommendations made by other travellers rather than vendors when making travel decisions and social media plays a massive part in assisting travellers in these decisions.

Years ago travellers would visit their travel agents and pick a holiday out of a magazine, now they are conducting their own research via blogs and networking with other travellers, basing their travel plans on other travellerís experiences.

SMP: Best way to contact you?

Definitely by e-mail. I am never too far away from a computer. You can reach me at daniel at

Now some questions for fun

SMP: What did you have for breakfast / lunch?

DF: A strong coffee and 2 bananas for breakfast

SMP: How many hours to you work a week?

DF: On average I work about 60 hours a week

SMP: If you werenít running Explore With Me what would you be doing?

DF: Travelling and writing about it in my travel journal.

SMP: When and where did you go on your last holiday?

DF: A weekend away in South West Ireland.

SMP: Whatís the first thing you do when you get into the office of a morning?

DF: Grab a coffee and check my e-mail.

SMP: If you had a superpower what would it be and why?

DF: I would love to be able to fly so I never have to catch public transport again. No more trains, buses and no more waiting in airport queues.

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