To mark the five-year anniversary one of the world's largest apps connecting gay men worldwide, Scruff announced new features to keep you safe while traveling and to help you travel better.
Gay men are travelers, so it is no surprise that Scruff launched Scruff Venture, a groundbreaking feature that redefined the "hookup" app space helping to distinguish Scruff apart from Grindr, Tinder, Daddy Hunt and other mobile apps. Scruff set out to create a connection for gay men who travel. In the first week, 20,000 trips were created, dozens of premier events listed and there were hundreds of Airbnb listings. Twenty-four destinations ( and counting ) are now featured.
"Travel has been a core use of Scruff," said Eric Silverberg, one of the co-founders of Scruff. "To meet local people when you arrive in town to get advice, to hook up, to make friends in a city on an event weekend. It was very early on that people started describing how they were using Scruff while they travel."
Silverberg told a story of a friend who went on a whirlwind global trip. He was in India, Cambodia, Jordan and Great Britain. He used Scruffespecially in Jordon and Cambodiabefore he even arrived. He found guys to talk to on Scruff so when he landed he had someone ready to meet up to take him around. He went to gay bars to house parties and a tour of the desert for four days. ( Be careful who you meet online! They are still strangers. )
Silverberg said, "Unlike most straight travelers, gay guys befriend one another quickly and are comfortable sightseeing and spending the day with fellow travelers they have just met."
The travel features of Scruff Venture are:
"Visiting Now & Arriving Soon" lists guys who are currently traveling in a city, or will be visiting a city in upcoming weeks;
"Ambassadors" are residents of a city who are members who have pledged to provide friendly advice and recommendations to visitors in their city; and
Airbnb Integration is for members with listings on Airbnb & VRBO ( Vacation Rentals by Owner ) that target LGBT travelersa novel idea to connect the travel planning and accommodation booking.
Local event listings highlight events
"Scruff wants to keeping our members safe when they travel and we can do that with a technical approach to obscure a member's location when in region with unique risks," said Silverberg.
Scruff launched "Gay Travel Advisories," a comprehensive resource dedicated to documenting laws that criminalize same-sex acts worldwide. Scruff members who travel to one of the nearly 90 countries listed are alerted via an in-app notification of the consequences of conviction under these laws.
Scruff Gay Travel Advisories was built in partnership with the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association ( www.ilga.org ), the world federation of national and local organizations dedicated to achieving equal rights for LGBTI people.
"Some country have fines, others [have] prison terms and others [have] the death penalty. We see Gay Travel Advisories as a public service," said Silverberg.
Jeff Guaracino is the author of Gay and Lesbian Tourism: The Essential Guide for Marketing.