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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.
This week’s roundup of travel startups looks at a flight booking site that gives travelers’ every search option imaginable, platforms that connect travelers with local experts or one another, and a service that posts rental home listings on several sites around the web.
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» Fareboom is an online booking website and subsidiary of the LA-based travel agency Best Travel Store. The site allows travelers to search flights by destination, cheapest airfares without a set destination, or by other factors including price, duration, and layovers.
SkiftTake: Fareboom is part traditional booking site, part Hipmunk, and part Google Flights. It fits a diverse set of travelers’ search needs, but it will be competing with the niche sites that already allow travelers to search by specific factors or fares to any destination.
» Trip.me is a German platform launched in April 2013. The service connect travelers with local tour operators in a new destinations. Travelers can tell the operator what they are looking for and the operator will organize the trip based on their on-the-ground knowledge. There is no middleman, which saves the traveler money.
SkiftTake: It’s often easier and cheaper to book travel once in the country — especially in more rural destination. However, working with trip.me doesn’t give travelers the ability to shop around to find the best rate making it hard for them to know if it’s really the best deal.
» Linqapp is a social translation app and self-described “human-powered Google Translate.” The Android app lets users ask a question via text, photo, or audio recording, which is then sent to all users fluent in the language. The app looks to the fill the need of travelers who need specific answers on the go.
SkiftTake: The number of language learning and translation apps is growing to fit every traveler’s need, from those who want to become fluent to those who need a quick translation. Linqapp has its roots in Asia, which will help it gain users in a booming travel market without yet directly competing with U.S.-based apps.
» Iloho is an online travel community where users can create profiles, search flights, and find new events. Users can read short descriptions of events from around the world and follow the events to remember them for future trips. There is also a forum where travelers can ask and answer travel questions.
SkiftTake: The site has colorful images and content to describe a broad set of places and experiences, but its very unorganized making it difficult for users to make sense of their searches or discoveries.
» BookingPal is a vacation rental booking platform. BookingPal also serves a distribution channel that lists their inventory on other sites for increased exposure and transactions. The site handles bookings for vacation hotels, timeshare resorts, campgrounds, and RV parks.
SkiftTake: BookingPal wants to bridge the gap between rental owners and booking websites — a different business model from HomeAway and its peers which deal directly with homeowners and renters.