Anthony Bourdain Has No Reservations for Facebook

Being a traveling foodie can be a really fun job, especially if you’re Anthony Bourdain and you have your own show on the Travel Channel. But for the rest of us, the cable channel’s new Facebook app will have to suffice. The new application is called “No Reservations: Hungry For More.” This is a fitting title because the application itself essentially combines Bourdain’s own content with user-generated content.

As a user of this application you can create your own style reviews. Text, photos and video media can all be incorporated into each review, which are all powered through a pop-up Kyte widget. You’re also able to read and rate reviews from other users that have added the “No Reservations” application.

The reviews themselves are displayed on a global map, and you’re also given the option of reviewing locations that have already been reviewed by others. And to tie things back in with Bourdain’s show, his reviews are also displayed on a map. Bourdain’s show previews are also accessible through this app. Filtering options allow you to view top reviews, top locations and Bourdain’s reviews.

This isn’t the Travel Channel’s first Facebook application. Not too long ago The Travel Channel created an app called Kidnap! in partnership with developers Context Optional Inc. and Rapp Collins. While the Kidnap! application isn’t specific to one particular show on The Travel Channel, “No Reservations” obviously is seeking extended branding opportunities through engaging applications that leverage user-generated content.

All this content could help Bourdain himself find new places to visit on his own travels, or offer a layman’s account of a location Bourdain has reviewed on his show. But all market research aside, Bourdain will also be using the “No Reservations” app to promote contests, such as he foodie’s dream getaway to New York City. Bourdain himself will be had-selecting the winners based on his affinity towards a top user’s review.

I imagine the success of a broad-appeal application such as Kidnap! has encouraged the development of even more apps to push the Travel Channel as an engaging brand. I actually enjoy some apps of this sort, because I happen to like the shows themselves. So creating even more show-specific applications with direct contributions from the show’s host or primary personality could prove to be an effective branding tool within a social environment such as Facebook.

In all, we’re seeing more brands team up with development and marketing firms in order to create branded applications that act as one giant advertisment that users can “play in,” so I’ll be interested to see if the Travel Channel launches more similar applications of this sort.