Digital Booking Sites

SkiftSeedlings: Five early-stage travel startups offer niche travel experiences

@SamShankman

Feb 21, 2013 5:35 am

Utrip

Utrip is an online travel planning platform that just launched new features in iteration 1.1. Utrip


Each of this week’s SkiftSeedlings targets a different consumer and sector of the travel industry, but their execution reaffirms the trend towards local, specific experiences.

Tour booking platforms are becoming more specific in an effort to offer consumers exactly what they want, but with so many small niche sites out there few travelers know where to find these local offerings and potentially amazing experiences. This makes user acquisition their largest hurdle to success in the crowded travel market.

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LiveTrekker — an app for capturing, sharing, and saving travel experiences — launched in December 2012 with $1.7 million in funding. The exacting trip tracker allows travelers to share a map and slideshow of their journey including their exact GPS coordinates as well as photos and videos taken along the way. Trips can be kept private, shared with friends via social media, or updated in real-time for friends watching at home.

SkiftTake: The app was originally built to serve as a second memory for leisure travelers, but has found a larger calling as a tool for corporate recon trips allowing employers to see where employers and assets are in real time. We expect a heavier focus on business travel in future iterations.

UTrip is a trip-planning platform that quickly compiles trip itineraries based users preferences for 18 different categories like cuisine, spontaneity, relaxation, shopping, or sports. Users can then swap out or customize parts of the itinerary and book lodging on Utrip via Expedia or HostelBookers.com. Utrip launched its public beta in July 2012, but just yesterday announced its re-launch with additional destinations and local tours.

SkiftTake: Utrip offers a smooth UI that delivers a customized itinerary in less than a minute, which offers travelers a starting point to build an itinerary. As smooth as it is, Utrip is battling history here as itinerary builders have a tendency to go bust.

Triip

Triip is a global platform for connecting travelers with unique tours by local experts that focus on calligraphy, lantern making, coffee, and more. Tours are only currently offered in five cities in Vietnam where the company is based.

SkiftTake: Local niche tours are hot right now and Triip isn’t the first platform to offer this value proposition so it may serve the startup well to stay put and carve out its spot as the go-to for such tours in Southeast Asia.

Adrenaline hunter

Adrenaline Hunter is an online marketplace that connects travelers or people looking to engage in adrenaline sports with sport providers. Sports included in the site are surfing, heliskiing, kitesurfing, skydiving, paragliding, and sandboarding. The French startup is also positioning itself as a marketing and bookings management platform for the sports providers.

SkiftTake: People can partake in adventures sports without taking a trip, but are more likely to seek out thrilling experiences outside of their everyday routine. This makes AH another one of many emerging niche tour booking platforms.

What Next Skift Seedlings

What Next is a mobile app that suggests events, concerts, or interesting places to go near a user’s current location. The activity discovery app doesn’t detail how it finds or selects which events will be shown to users.

SkiftTake: What Next will face competition from activity, event discovery apps like Spindle and its success will lie in how successfully it finds and offers activities that fall in line with users’ individual tastes.

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