Digital Booking Sites

SkiftSeedlings: Five early-stage travel startups to have fun with

@SamShankman

Feb 12, 2013 1:01 am

 / For Less Guides

For Less Guides creates a free iOS travel app for tourists in New York City. / For Less Guides


This week’s SkiftSeedlings are for the leisure travelers, backpackers, or business travelers looking for a release after a long day of meetings. They’ve created services that are targeted at a very specific segment of travelers, like Arab travelers, or appeal to almost everyone, like anyone that enjoys a beer with a local in a new city.

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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Party with a Local is an app that connects travelers and locals looking to party together. The company’s premise is similar to that of Couchsurfing in that it gives locals an outlet for meeting foreigners and exploring other cultures without leaving their cities. Users have to sign up via Facebook so some personal information is automatically included.

SkiftTake: The idea is great for the growing number of young travelers that are looking for authentic experiences with locals, but it is the app’s early adopters that will define it as a reliable progressive platform for connecting travelers or a creepy chat room.

GoEjaza

GoEjaza is a website that focuses primarily on travel planning for Arab travelers. Users add their idea for an upcoming trip and GoEjaza pulls together eating, sightseeing, and shopping suggestions for the user. It also aims to become the predominant platform for reviews for and by Arab travelers.

SkiftTake: Despite the proliferation of review and trip planning sites on the web, GoEjaza defines and goes after a specific, although huge, segment of travelers that will be attracted to site to find recommendations that are suited to their particular cultural needs and tastes.

ForLessGuides2

ForLessGuides is a Lonon-based startup that publishes free city-specific iOS travel apps. The apps include a street map, a subway map, guides to the city’s major tourist attractions, and discounts for attractions and restaurants. The company estimates that users can save up to $60 a day using the in-app deals.

SkiftTake: The company got a boost of publicity for their London For Less guide in the run-up to the Olympics, but in order to sustain the momentum For Less will have to continue to define its brand based on more than just small deals.

Wanderu

Wanderu is a ground travel search engine that focuses on getting users from city to city without ever having to board a plane. Users type in their current address and that of where they’re headed, and Wanderu provides them with Google Transit directions to a bus station and a full bus itinerary. Bookings aren’t done directly on the site, but link users to the check-out pages on each bus company’s website. The startup will first launch in the Northeast and expand by region in the U.S.

SkiftTake: Wanderu’s direct partnership with well-known bus companies including Boltbus and Megabus offers users more recognizable brands than those of other nascent bus travel startups. Its inclusion as one of the eight finalists for SXSW’s Innovative Technology of 2013 category may be a sign of its potential – Hipmunk won the same award in 2011.

Checkin Cashin

Checkin Cashin pushes users deals to places they’ve already visited based on the locations they’ve checked into on Foursquare. The idea is that every deal is relevant since the user has already shown an interest in the business.

SkiftTake: Although a spam-free, personalized deals list sounds like a terrific location-based service, it will only appeal to avid Foursquare users and even then isn’t useful unless the check-ins are for locations where the user frequents.

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