Travel search company SideStep is furthering its foray into the Facebook Platform tonight with the launch of CouchSwap, a new application that allows users to offer up their couches to travelers as a cheap form of lodging and to find and rate couches offered up by users in other cities. CouchSwap is the first SideStep product to emerge from the acquired TripUp, a travel social network founded by Sam Rogoway and acquired by SideStep earlier this month.
SideStep, already known for its Trips application (the 4th most popular Facebook travel application) and for acquiring Facebook application Extended Info and developer Trey Philips, continues its exploration into Facebook with CouchSwap, the company’s third application.
We caught up with Brian Stolte, Director of Product Management of SideStep, this afternoon about SideStep’s growing Facebook efforts.
“Historically, SideStep has focused on travel vertical search. Now, we’re expanding a bit. We want to provide ways for Facebook users to share their travel experiences and get travel ideas. Our strategy is to build a network of applications that help you leverage your social network to make travel decisions,” Stolte said.
As for plans to integrate SideStep web properties and Facebook applications, Stolte said the company will be bringing current web functionality into Facebook and current Facebook functionality out onto their web properties gradually. The company is placing a higher priority on stability and scalability now after experiencing some user attrition during slowdowns after the F8 launch.
SideStep’s applications show that the firm is one of the fastest travel companies to innovate on the new opportunities offered by the Facebook platform. We’ll keep a close eye as new types of travel applications like CouchSwap continue to emerge.