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One of these days the tours and activities market will pop when companies can provide real-time availabilities to travelers in-destination who are using mobile devices. Until then, Xola’s clients are doing lots of manual tasks, including handling bookings via email. It’s a highly fragmented market with lots of competition for XOLA, which will face some heavy lifting.
While software is improving the efficiency and day-to-day operations of many businesses, those that offer bookable experiences — from back-country outfitters and urban tour guides and helicopter tour companies — have largely lived without that benefit. Because the world does not need another failed consumer-facing marketplace for “amazing experiences,” Xola is taking the business-to-business route.
The San Francisco-based startup is launching today with a unified, online solution to allow service providers to manage reservations, payments, calendaring and scheduling. The idea, says founder Scott Zimmerman, is to create a solution that offers these providers the ability to add online reservations capability to any website in three steps, giving small businesses and merchants the same access that’s traditionally been reserved for larger companies.
[Xola says it has raised $1.8 million from angel investors.]