With A New Local Discovery Engine, WHERE Wants To Own The "Pre Check-in" Experience

We’ve all been there before: You’ve just moved to a new city, the fridge is empty, and you need some grub. You pop into the nearest restaurant and.. it’s not bad. So you start branching out. You check out spots a few more blocks from home. Within a few weeks, you find comfort in your favorite spots, and fall into a bit of a rut; two months in and surrounded by new restaurants to try, you’re hitting up the same 4 restaurants every week.

WHERE wants to bust that habit. Today, they’re introducing a new Local Discovery system, which they’re hoping will help them own what they call the “Pre Check-in” space.

By “Pre Check-In”, of course, they’re referencing the super-trendy act of “Checking In” to locations you’re at with the help of apps like Foursquare or Yelp. People generally check in at locations they visit regularly; WHERE wants to help them discover new locations to visit regularly.

Slapping a new label on the “Pre Check-In” space doesn’t make it new — nor does it make it empty. In fact, I’d say that area is already “owned” quite well by Yelp. You want a new spot, you go to Yelp, you tweak the search and filter your way down to a few options, and then you drive.

WHERE seems to be betting that that third step — the searching and the filtering — needs to be done away with; rather than requiring you to dig on your own, it’ll learn your habits from locations you’ve favorited or placed on your “Want To Go” list, then offer up one related suggestion based on that. Given that a lot of people start over-thinking things as soon as multiple options are involved, this approach makes a lot of sense.

So, where’s the money model here? Borrowing an idea from the “Post Check-In” world, they’ll be rolling out Targeted Deals in the coming months. Add a place to your “Want To Go” list, and it might say “Hey! Whatd’ya know! I can get you some free fries there!”