Party with a Local is a recently launched app that gets travelers and locals together for a party. It’s an innovative and fun way for travelers to get to see a new city’s hidden gems, and for locals to make new connections and meet people. We sat down with Party with a Local’s founder Dan Fennessy to find out more on what it’s all about.
I understand that you’re originally from Australia, what brought you over to Amsterdam?
Originally I moved for a girl. I did a round-the-world trip in 2006; I went to Southeast Asia, all around Europe, a bit of North America and Central America. In Central America I met a Dutch girl, we stayed in contact and eventually I decided to move over to Amsterdam.
So tell us a bit about Party with a Local. What initially inspired the idea?
The idea for it came from my own experiences of traveling, largely on the round-the-world trip. When arriving in new cities I’d want to go out and sample the nightlife but not always know the good places to go. I’d be hanging out with other travelers and wanting to get that local experience but not always finding it. But sometimes it did happen; I’d meet some locals and have a great night out. But more often than not I’d have a crap night out, ending up in hostels and crap tourist bars. So the idea came from wanting to solve my own problem.
Tell us a bit about how it works?
The way it works is pretty simple. It’s got some similarities with couch surfing but it’s a bit less involved. Instead of meeting up with a stranger at their house it’s meeting up for a drink. It’s designed to be more mobile and instant. You just log on using Facebook, it uses some of your Facebook details to fill out a profile and then you can see other locals and travelers that are nearby who might be interesting to meet, go for a drink, or have a party with.
The app is definitely a great way to meet the locals of a particular city, but seems that it could also be useful to meet fellow travelers.
At the moment everyone is all grouped into one, you can see ‘people nearby’ so they could be locals or fellow travelers. Down the track we’d like to include a filter so that you can see, for example, either locals or travelers. So it could definitely be used for either travelers wanting to meet travelers, or locals wanting to hang out with other like-minded locals.
The app launched in October last year. How has the response been so far?
Well we tried to go with a soft launch because it’s the first version of the app. We wanted to test it in one market and get a lot of feedback and make sure that there were no bugs and stuff before we went all out. So we focused on Amsterdam since we’re based here. The feedback has been pretty good; everybody likes the idea and people get the idea straight away. The app itself will continue to develop over time. We know it’s not perfect now, but we’ve got it to a point where it’s working well so now we want to open up globally. The main thing is to get the community of locals and travelers to grow for it to work. The features at the moment are quite basic but I’ve still used it to meet and party with some people from overseas, which is pretty cool.
How are you getting the locals involved in the app? What’s in it for them?
Well, people are locals only when they’re in their home city but they’re also going to be travelers at some point. There’s definitely incentive for making connections on their next trip abroad. Also, what I know about myself is that I like having people from out of town to show around, you get to see your city with new eyes. I think there are enough locals with an open mind, who want meet new people and show them the hidden and hard to find parts of your city. To grow and nurture that community of locals we do regular events, which so far have always been at Basis. We’ve used these gatherings and get-togethers to not only get a lot of feedback but also build a community of locals through parties.
So it seems like things in Amsterdam are going pretty well. Tell me more about your plans to launch globally.
We have an app update that’s ready now, it’s already been approved by Apple. We’re planning to release it soon and open it up to download all over the world. But we’d like to focus on a few key cities and build up the group of locals, Amsterdam has been first, Berlin is the next logical city, London, Barcelona etcetera.
Any more future plans for the app?
Basically we’re looking at just constantly growing our community. One of the reasons that we want to open up to a lot more users is to see some trends, see how people are using it, try get a lot of feedback and then build that back into the app. We want to constantly improve the features and make it a product that people actually really want to use, while always encouraging the community aspect of it as well.