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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 startups aims to expedite travel annoyances whether it’s writing up an expense report or reminding a hotel waiter what you’ll have for dinner.
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>> Mileways is an air travel app that stores information on future flights, alerts users to changes in flight departures, tracks mileage points across airlines, and allows users to follow friends’ trips. The iTunes app launched in late 2013.
SkiftTake: The app attempts to be an all-in-one resource for frequent flyers that want an information resource and social platform for flying. It’s biggest hurdle is competing with individual airlines’ apps and travel tools that came before it.
>> ExpenseBot helps employees create and get reimbursed for expense reports. The service analyzes employees’ expense data and identifies items that are likely reimbursable, processes photos of receipts, and calculates mileage claims per flight.
SkiftTake: Any tool that makes recording and submitting expense reports easier for business travelers is worth testing.
>> Pablow aims to disrupt the traditional rental car market by selling car rental insurance as an ancillary service to airlines, booking sites, and travel insurance providers. The Pablow API will allow those companies to sell insurance at lower price than what rental car giants currently charge. Pablow is set to launch in one month.
SkiftTake: The startup is smart to tap into companies’ love of ancillary fees with a product that any traveler renting a car will need. Its corporate partnerships will largely determine its growth and success.
>> Mahana is a mobile app that alerts restaurant employees to the needs and past preferences of their customers as soon as they in. Consumers download the app and select their dietary preference. Restaurant employees are then provided with customers’ photos, names, orders during previous visits, and dietary preferences.
SkiftTake: The end-goal is providing a customer experience that makes people want to return and spend more in the future; however, not all restaurant guests want to be known on such a personal level.
>> Map-N-Road is a trip planning site that allows users to create detailed itineraries. Users can set up expense trackers and to-do lists for each destination as well as post photos and blog entries.
SkiftTake: This is another trip planning tool that travelers didn’t ask for and that doesn’t offer a valuable enough feature to make them want to try it.