Ruba offers users an interactive way to plan their next vacation using relevant reviews posted by other users. By allowing the information to be entirely user-created, Ruba presents an unbiased approach to vacation planning. Visitors can browse listings for attractions, hotels, restaurants and other travel-related businesses in the area they plan to visit. Ruba reviews can provide an actual customer’s comments about the business or service to help users plan their trip more effectively.
Ruba founder, Mike Cassidy, loves to travel. His tours have taken him through more than twenty five countries, including Egypt, China, Australian, Switzerland and the Czech Republic. Cassidy has seen many exotic and unique places. His experience has brought about the realization that others traveling around the globe need a way to learn more about the places they are visiting. Prior to creating Ruba, Cassidy was also a part of the founding of three other online applications, including one of the most popular gaming applications, Xfire. Ruba’s features were demonstrated at the 2009 National Tour Association Annual Convention. Ruba.com was shut down because the team behind Ruba joined Google in 2010.
Ruba is essentially an online travel guide created by travelers. Visitors to the site can get in touch with local experts or search for specific businesses and attractions before they head for the airport. Ruba enhances the experience by integrating information, ratings, and topographical maps into each listing. Users can actually see various points on the map while reading an overview and learning about various specific locations. A free e-brochure feature is also available on many attractions listed on the Ruba website.
The graphic design and color scheme of Ruba is very lighthearted, providing a fun atmosphere to start planning a vacation. Users can get in the mood with color photos of various popular destinations. The layout is logical, providing links to all the key pages across the top of the page with an easy to find customer support banner at the bottom. Each destination profile includes tabs with a photo gallery, user reviews and ratings as well as additional information.
New users can click the small “Join Ruba” link at the top right hand corner of the homepage. A pop up box appears offering three ways to sign in. Users with a Twitter or Facebook account can choose to log in through their respective profiles. Those who do not wish to link Ruba to their social networking profiles can click the “join” link at the bottom of the box. To make an account, Ruba requires a first and last name, email address and home city. After entering the information, the account is created and the user can begin browsing the Ruba website. Email confirmation is requested but not required for the initial log in.
Unlike travel agents and other vacation services, Ruba is available at no cost. New users can visit the website, create an account and start gathering information and mapping their journey. No premium account option is currently offered. Users can get the most out of the Ruba site without paying a dime for access to user reviews and other travel tools.
Two different types of users can really appreciate what Ruba offers: those who have traveled and want to share the experience and those who plan to travel. Ruba covers just about any destination in the world and welcomes user input to help expand the existing collection of reviews and information. Even those who only travel once in a while can benefit from a visit to the Ruba website.