The ‘travel tech’ space is vibrant.
With so many travel startups gaining traction it can be difficult to keep up with all the new products in beta or early release. For me there are a few standout products worth noting this year. Some of my favourite new travel startups are disruptive, some create a digital marketplace and others find value in under-utilised sources. All of them deserve your attention.
No one sees the world like you do…
Must is a free lifestyle photo recommendation app. It’s aim is to get users discovering, capturing, and sharing new experiences across the world. By categorising the coolest and most memorable experiences (see, eat, stay, do, drink and have) the app will create your ‘absolute musts’ to satisfy wanderlust. Launches this month.
Quietly disrupting the offline world of professional tour guides with technology.
AnyRoad is to tour companies, what Airbnb is to hotels. It’s model brings technology to the remotest parts of the world, and brings unique bookable tours directly from independent guides. This point-to-point booking experience really works well and the sheer number of tours speaks volumes for its continual growth. High five to AnyRoad for also donating 5% of their revenue to non-profits.
The sharing economy turns the courier industry to ‘peer-to-peer’.
Carry turns unused space in your carry on luggage into potential income. Carry’s marketplace connects people who want to ship something with travelers who can carry the packages for them for a fee, at a noticeably reduced shipping cost. Security concerns aside (which Carry seem to have addressed at length), this is one of the smartest travel startups I’ve seen this year.
The first ‘travel knowledge monetization platform’ paying commissions to reviewers
Yonderbound serves up an inventory of 380,000 bookable properties, but unlike other OTAs they share 70% of profit with anyone who creates review content (called a Yonderbox) on their platform. Net revenue is calculated by subtracting from a gross sale price (what you or your friends paid) the credit card fees, the processing fees (payment gateway, merchant bank and middleware) and the net rate Yonderbound paid for the property. Pretty interesting model and certainly a hot travel startup for this year.
5. Hotels By Day
Yes, ‘Daycation’ is now a word.
Hotels by Day are trying to create a new category of hotel booking. Imagine you need to unwind and relax during a work trip but do not need an over night stay – just book the day and check-out before 7pm. Starting with a very modest US based inventory, the company is well funded and has pretty ambitious plans to get more hotels involved. It will be interesting to see how the market could potentially be educated that this type of service exists, and how channel / property management systems all over the world handle a ‘day cations’ as a model.
6. Party with a Local
Established for a few years, but a really great travel startup…
This app had me at ‘hello’. Do you want to party with fun people when you’re travelling? Yes, so do I. Party with a Local is a geosocial networking application and social discovery platform for the iPhone. Using physical proximity, users can join in locals’ parties, events and meet new people. Works very well for more socially inclined millennial customers travelling through ‘party’ cities. Go download the app while I smash this Jägermeister.
Intelligent travel budgeting to booking…
Deadly simple concept here. Plug in your budget, preferences and interests and Wanderlust compiles a number of packaged trips (flight through to accommodation) to match your criteria. Looking forward to seeing this launch.
Stunning data driven app providing analysis of billions of flight prices to save money.
Hopper’s aim is to help consumers make smart travel choices backed by big data and quantitative analysis. Billions of flight data points are analysed to show you when the best time is to book flights and alerts them when their ticket price may go up or down. Absolutely debunks the ‘book early to save’ money on flights myth.
On demand travel plans written by locals.
Localfu is a marketplace for personalised suggestions from locals. Whether you’re going on vacation, moving to a new city, or simply looking for new things to do, Localfu connects you with the right people for a $5 fee.
Real travel advice from travel experts…
Another marketplace for personalised travel advice, but at a much higher level. Plansify offers connections to genuine travel experts who can help planning volunteering in South Africa to living as an Expat in Berlin. Communication is done through their platform or via a 1hr Skype call.