Lauren Goode

Recent Posts by Lauren Goode

New Vimbly App Promises Easy Activity Planning in 10 Minutes or Less

Let’s be honest: Booking a gym class, a wine tour, a cheese tasting or an art lesson really isn’t all that hard.

But for city dwellers who have seemingly limitless recreational activities at their fingertips, a just-launched Web app called Vimbly wants to streamline the planning process.

Vimbly’s Web site is pretty straightforward. There’s a local map at the top of the page, with three key filters: Days of the week, start time and your price range. Below that, there’s a table of search results, presented in calendar format. Users can book an event directly from the event’s description page and pay via PayPal.

A quick search I ran for activities this week, ranging in price from $0 to $100 per person, brought me 159 results, including Samurai Sword classes and Intro to Cigars 101: Cut & Light.

The site also has a section called “Make Me Interesting,” which includes the sub-categories “Adrenaline,” “Crafty” and “Risque,” to name a few (and yes, “Risque” is exactly what you’d expect it to be).

Vimbly is free to use, though it does require an email address or Facebook account. Most activities listed on the site range from free to $100. Vimbly charges vendors on the back end of the transaction, so users generally don’t pay any kind of booking or ticket fee.

The inspiration for Vimbly came when the app’s creator, Sam Lundin, searched online for an introductory photography course a couple of years ago. He says he got an overwhelming number of results through Google and saw an opportunity for better activity booking, like an “OpenTable or ZocDoc for recreational activities,” as he describes it.

The site has a few obvious limitations. For starters, it’s currently available only in New York City. The company plans to extend to four other cities — Boston, San Francisco, Denver and Washington, D.C. — sometime next year. And right now Vimbly lists approximately 300 activities through relationships it has with around 200 vendors — a good place to start, but still a small database.

Lastly, Vimbly isn’t available as a mobile app yet, despite the SoMoLo (or is it SoLoMo?) craze, a term describing the convergence of social and local applications on mobile platforms. Lundin says Vimbly’s mobile apps are in the works, though he declined to say when they’ll become available. (In the meantime, mobile users can look to apps like Goby and WillCall for local fun or last-minute tickets.)

Still, if you’re booking a date or just plain bored, Vimbly’s site might present some options you haven’t thought of before.

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