Sunday, 18 March 2012
New web portal offers social networking for business travellers
My Village International (MVI) – www.myvillageinternational.com - provides social and business networking opportunities to individuals who frequently travel because of their work.
This international online networking village has been established by a group of friends who themselves have held a number of European and international posts in business enterprise. As well as helping people to socialise through their international connections, other benefits of MVI to members include travel sharing to help reduce CO2 emissions and getting the most from their visits to new places.
“The idea first occurred because of our own experiences of travelling extensively on business throughout Europe,” says Director of MVI, Kathy Vuillaume. “Women in particular find it difficult to do simple things like go to a restaurant or bar on their own, so they end up ordering room service and staying in their hotel room, rather than enjoying the local environment and meeting people.
“We tried to find a social networking site that was offering this type of service, but couldn’t. Facebook is geared towards friends, LinkedIn is very business-oriented, and we really wanted to connect with professionals with international lifestyles who travel regularly and have several addresses. None of these other traditional sites enable you to appear registered in different locations.”
The current functionalities of MVI allow members to promote their social and business activities by using forums and groups, and uploading multimedia materials. They can initiate or participate in MVI events open to all members or host private events with their own connections. They can share their itineraries - both business trips and holidays - to make new business contacts and friends wherever they go. Members can also set up profiles tailored to their different social and business circles.
Future functions of the site, already under development in partnership with the University of Surrey, include the development of a smart phone app and the potential to car-share between members; the University is currently assessing members’ willingness to share, their relationship to potential sharers, and the routing and timing of planned journeys.
“The feedback from MVI is raising some exciting new research challenges,” says Paul Krause, Professor of Software Engineering at the University of Surrey. “We are using latest techniques to ensure the smart phone app will work across all major device types. More interestingly, we are developing some innovative tools to enable us to introduce a range of location aware services. We believe this will reinforce MVI as the leading social networking site for business people on the move.”
The main aim of MVI is for members to reconcile their social and business lives in very practical ways. For example, if you are going to be in a city or town at the same time as other people that you know, then book into the same hotel and catch up on your business ventures, or go out and visit the town together to enjoy a more social experience.
The objective is to grow MVI to around 3,000 members in the first year and to reach more than 100,000 members within five years.
MVI has been launched in English and French languages with the aim of adding new languages as membership grows. Currently, 16 countries are represented in the network - 99% of members are professionals with the remaining 1% made up of students and other individuals.
For a free trial experience, visit: www.myvillageinternational.com