Travel companies have long been on the frontlines of technological innovation, from the early days of Expedia and Travelocity to the present AirBnB revolution. Now that AirBnB is our new normal, though, what’s next for travel startups? Pushing past traditional booking services and housing, these five startups are tapping into new trends to expand just what’s possible for vacationers.
Cutting Out Cancellations
One of the worst things that can happen to a traveler is experiencing a flight cancellation – it’s the kind of situation that can ruin a trip, and it’s happening more often in the last few years. Enter into the fray, Freebird, a re-booking service that allows customers to find new flights if there’s a cancellation, serious delay, or missed connection, helping travelers arrive on time. The service lets users book for free and tackles the refund paperwork, claiming 25% of the refund for their part in the project. Considering what you’d miss by arriving late to your destination, that’s a small price to pay.
New TSA regulations and rising costs associated with checked baggage have made packing a high-stakes endeavor, so while most modern startups are focused on app development, several have stepped in to solve this material problem. One startup addressing these issues with app-style convenience is Ben Lido’s Travel Kit Club. The Travel Kit Club delivers travel size toiletries in customers’ preferred brands right to their doors. Since TSA regulations mean travelers can only bring mini-sized products, this service is a real timesaver, especially for those with strong brand preferences.
Of course, those tiny toiletries don’t take up much space when they’re packed up, but getting a trip’s worth of clothing into a carry-on is a bigger challenge. However, a new crowdfunded project designed for travelers wants to change that. The Aroo Mini Bar is a rechargeable vacuum compressor compatible with all mainstream storage bags and designed to help users save space when packing. Just fit the adapted compressor to a bag of clothing and suck out space wasting air.
Most travelers fly out either very early in the morning or late in the evening in order to fit the most into the day, but where do their suitcases go when there’s a few spare hours before takeoff? Too often, travelers just have to haul them along on any last tours. To bridge this gap, startup Stasher developed a system of secure local drop points where travelers can leave their bags for safe keeping between stops. Stasher has affordable holding points around the world, with an emphasis on the UK and continental Europe. One quick stop lets travelers continue through the day unencumbered.
Finally, following on the coattails of AirBnB’s activity booking services, several startups have cropped up to expand activity offerings on a global scale, helping visitors gain a more authentic experience of their destination. One such company is GetYourGuide, which organizes tours, meals, and activities in global destinations from Budapest to New York and everything in between. The other major advantage of GetYourGuide is that it offers travelers a buffet of options without having to negotiate a dozen different ticketers and booking agents.
The growing travel startup space makes it easy for users to explore the globe and participate in new experiences without the hassle, and customers are responsive to their efforts. Millennials, in particular, are 23% more likely to take on international adventures than their older counterparts and these services cater to their preferences. This is how the next generation explores: with a smartphone to coordinate each leg of the journey.