Digital

SkiftSeedlings: Six early-stage startups tackle bus bookings, group travel, and photo sharing

@SamShankman

Jan 14, 2013 9:00 am

Screenshot  / Banjarey

Banjarey says it generates a beautiful trip experience for everybody to share or simply relive years later. Screenshot / Banjarey


This week’s SkiftSeedlings touch on all aspects of travel from an attempt to build the first mobile app dedicated to intercity bus travel to another startup trying to take the lead in group trip planning.

If you know of any early-stage travel startups that either you’re involved with or have seen on the web, drop us a note through our contact page or send us a tweet at @skiftnews.

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Wanderio is an Italian door-to-door trip-planning web application. It compares all available modes of transportation and sorts them by price, travel time, and (here’s a first) CO2 emissions. The site is currently in closed beta and scheduled to launch in April.

SkiftTake: The majority of online bookers are price-obsessed travelers making CO2 emissions an unlikely factor in their trip planning. This may be in different in Europe, where the site has a better chance of building a user base before entering the crowded US market. Here’s a review of the app in an Italian webzine, for any of our Italian readers.

Tripcierge is a virtual concierge app, self-described as “Airbnb for things to do on your trip.” Users create a trip through Tripcierge, share it on Facebook where friends can share ideas, and receive offers before and during a trip. Tripcierge also connects to Tripit accounts.

SkiftTake: Tripcierge is exactly what’d you expect to see when former Expedia and Groupon team members get together. Flash sales might be done for local activities, but sending out discounts tied to restaurant recommendations in a new city could work.

Bustripping is a search engine dedicated to intercity bus travel. The website seems to only have limited functionality right now, but states plans of comparing costs and availability of all bus companies. Users are linked to the bus operator to complete bookings.

SkiftTake: Bustripping may have failed at its first attempt to crowd source funding, but there’s definitely a market for such a site with budget bus travel being the fastest growing mode of transportation in the U.S.

Coupafly is based out of London and offers members access to flash sales on hotels and ‘travel;’ travel presumably meaning tours and trip packages. The site is still in beta.

SkiftTake: CoupaFly must have missed the memo that flash deals are slowly dying (Jetsetter’s pending sale, GroupOn Getaways’ expansion beyond vouchers). Maybe that’s why it’s still looking for hotel partners.

Flights with Friends is fresh out of the gate. It’s flights service is now live after having been in beta since August, and it just launched a beta version of its hotel functionality. The site allows groups to collaborate on flight and hotel bookings by pinning possibilities and discussing the options in real time.

SkiftTake: Flight with Friends tackles one of the only elements of online trip planning that is still up for grabs, group travel, but they’re not alone. We’ve previously covered Jetaport and Gatherball, two similar sites with slightly better UIs. This will be one sector we’ll be interested to watch moving forward.

Banjarey is a mobile app that allows individuals on a group trip to share photographs and activity updates in one place. The stream of photographs can be kept private within the group or shared with others. The iOS app launched earlier this month.

SkiftTake: Facebook still rules as the number one photo-sharing site for travel. This makes user acquisition especially tricky for travel photosharing platforms, even with a value proposition of easier, cleaner viewing.

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