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Despite stalled growth in China, Brazil and Russia, a wave of newly middle-class travelers from the BRICs and beyond will start visiting international destinations in the coming decades — dwarfing the numbers we’ve seen thus far.
If you like traveling by bus, are looking for a getaway with four of your friends, or want to plan a trip that your friend has already taken, this week’s SkiftSeedlings has you covered.
The variety of these five startups hints at why so many founders think they’ve come up on the next big thing, especially with the ongoing fragmentation of travelers — there is always a new market to cater to or travel woe to improve upon. Still, only several will gain enough traction within that traveler segment to succeed in the long run.
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This is the first time we’ve ever seen a startup refer to itself as the Amway of anything, but here we have the ‘Amway for Travel Bloggers.’
OutTrippin is a planning and booking site that features trip itineraries curated by bloggers. The itineraries are based off the blogger’s experiences and booked through local small-scale tour operators. Trip details are broken down by day-by-day alongside details about the blogger sponsoring the trip.
SkiftTake: The site feels like a cross between Peek and Fortnighter while adding the altruistic goal of creating jobs in small South American communities. There’s an element of trust already established for fans of the featured bloggers, but the platform will have to expand beyond that audience to create a business model as sustainable as the communities it hopes to help.
Busbud is a search and booking engine for intercity bus travel. The Quebec-based company launched its first iPhone app last week, although ticket purchases are not yet available directly via Busbud. The company plans to monetize by working with bus companies to increase their sales and take a percentage of each sale they drive.
SkiftTake: Several similar services have cropped up in recent months, but Busbud has a jumpstart in the market with a search platform that currently covers 66 different countries. The launch of a mobile app will continue to drive bookings among mobile-reliant travelers.
Although bus travel is the fastest growing mode of transportation in the U.S., it is considered the primary mode of travel in other countries as partly evidenced by the fact that 30 to 40 percent of Busbud’s user base is in Brazil. It wouldn’t be surprising if the site continued to thrive in countries outside the U.S. for some time.
Roam 7 catalogues all of your Facebook friends’ photographs by location so you can explore the photo albums of friends on their trips to anywhere in the world. There are no direct actions or transaction that can be taken through the website.
SkiftTake: There are too many travel photos of sunsets and families to make any planning decisions based on information discovered through the tool, but it is a great way to waste a few hours and see where your friends from high school have been traveling.
TripThirsty, described as a ‘Pinterest + Groupon for travel’ on AngelList, went live last week. The Pinterest component comes from the method of trip discovery, which involves users clicking on photos to discover trips they then add to a wish list. The TripThirsty team then goes to work finding group deals for the destination you’ve bookmarked by working with tour operators to fill in open spots for otherwise unattainable deals, thus monetizing the site like an ersatz Groupon.
SkiftTake: It’s not clear on the site whether travelers need to come with friends already in tow to take advantage of the deals, or if TripThirsty matches solo travelers to take advantage of the group discount. The number of transactions to actually take place seems low with potential travelers adding more trips to their wish list than they actually plan on taking.
Furlocity is a booking engine for searching, comparing, booking, and reviewing kennels. It is a service for both pet owners, who can build profiles for their pets and their medical history, and kennels, which can share promotions, manage customers, and keep track of room inventory; a Travelocity.com for pets.
SkiftTake: Furlocity isn’t proposing a new way to house pets while you’re away, but is massively improving the existing ways people find trusted places to leave their pets.