SkiftSeedlings: Five travel startups hack rentals, layovers, and gym passes
Playplanet is an online platform for connecting foreigners with locals for curated tours of Asian cities. / Playplanet
This week’s SkiftSeedlings are looking to innovate during every step of business and leisure travelers’ trips, from finding the cheapest vacation rental to making the most out of layovers, to staying fit when the hotel’s gym looks like a child’s playground.
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Apartum is a Spanish search engine for vacation apartment rentals that pulls properties from other online rental sites including FlipKey, HouseTrip, and Interhome. It offers more than 300,000 apartments in locations around the world.
WhileWairport is a Spanish startup that wants to turn airport wait time in a networking opportunity. The website and mobile app outlines what’s available at each terminal and offers users’ recommendations about how to pass the time. It also connects flyers with like-minded travelers in their vicinity. Services are currently available at ten airports.
SkiftTake: The serendipity of finding a seat partner you really click with or end up doing business with is so rare that it’s one of the few very pleasant surprises left in air travel, and one that’s proving difficult to hack for the several startups that are trying.
Fitusin, an Expedia for gym access, offers frequent travelers and other commitment phobes access to short-term gym memberships and class vouchers. Users search the website and app to read reviews and buy passes to the closest gym.
SkiftTake: With everywhere from airports to hotels trying to up their fitness offerings, actual gyms are now waking up to the untapped opportunity in selling short-term memberships and day passes to business travelers.
Playplanet, founded by a young entrepreneur from South Korea, is an online platform connecting locals and travelers. The site’s goal of making the world a better place through cultural exchange is a positive way to spin local entrepreneurs overpricing specialized tours for foreign visitors.
SkiftTake: As one of many local tour platforms that transfer money directly from tourists’ hands into locals’ pockets, Playplanet will have a tough time cutting through the competition to realize its goal of cultural understanding.
Piquey, pronounced picky, is a social concierge service that recommends restaurants, tourist sites, and the events. The options are filtered, weighed, and presented based on what’s shown up in users’ social media networks and how close it is to their current location.
SkiftTake: Piquey is one of a number of apps that’s trying to make restaurant and event selection easier and hustling to prove it’s created the algorithm that shows exactly what users are looking for based on personal data points.