Nascent travel startups look to Hipmunk’s 2011 win in the innovative technology sector as a sign that getting a SXSW pat on the back is clear path to success, but in reality, it’s a small victory among the many obstacles.
Hundreds of app developers, startup CEOs, and tech reporters will descend on Austin’s SXSW this week to share companies and technologies that want to do everything from solve world hunger to organize saved reading lists.
Of those, only 64 finalists and alternatives will be showcased at the SXSW Interactive Accelerator. We’ve picked out the following eight finalists from the news, social, mobile, and innovative web categories with the potential to impact the way we travel:
Meograph is a storytelling tool that makes it easy to create interactive videos out of pictures, maps, and timelines. Some of Meograph’s most popular users are tourism organizations, but the tool could also be used by travelers after a trip.
Koozoo lets users see and share live views of public places. They can see how long the line is at a restaurant, how many people are at the park, see how bad traffic is in midtown, or share where they are in real time. Its goal is to make the real world as accessible and searchable as the digital world.
Plotter is the first social network for maps. Users can plot locations on a custom map, crowdsource destination to add to their map, save celebrities’ maps and themed maps, and follow friends’ activities on the app.
Givit is a kind of Instagram for videos. The mobile app allows users to dice, edit, and add effects to video clips to share on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and stored in the Givit cloud.
Desti is a travel discovery and planning iPad app. Users enter natural language queries like “four days in San Francisco with the kids” and the app highlights activities and hotels based on users’ specific searches.
Memoto has created a ‘lifelogging camera’ with the goal of giving users a searchable and shareable photographic memory. The small wearable camera takes two photos a minute and organizes all photos on a timeline inside a mobile apps for iPhone an Android.
Mr. Arlo is travel booking site that looks through a user’s friends’ hotel check-ins on Facebook and the traveler’s online interests to come up with creative and customized itineraries. Users can create, organize, and book trips which can be shared with friends and family.
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.