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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.
The travel space is filled with more copycats than innovators, each seeking to set themselves apart with slight improvements rather than industry-changing ideas.
These startups cover a broad range of topics from trip sharing to adventure booking to car rentals, each attempting to set themselves apart by carving out a niche in what are already crowded markets.
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>> Epoch Adventures is an online booking platform for adventure vacations. The startup works with local operators to list unique activities in destinations around the world.
SkiftTake: Travelers today are obsessed with finding unique and authentic experiences giving Epoch a limitless group of customers to tap into with the right mix of marketing and execution.
>> Journi is an app that aims to make travel journaling easier to do and share in our digital age. Users can take notes and photos with the app, which then organizes the content by place and time. Users can share their journals on social networks and follow specific friends’ trips for on-the-go updates.
SkiftTake: Trip sharing is an overcrowded market, but Journi seeks to separate itself by focusing on the basics and little else.
>> Geosure is a customized safety app for travelers that uses a ‘threat temperature’ to measure and rate the safety of a particular location. The app is powered by a mix of analytics and real-time crowdsourced updates. The team is positioning the app as especially helpful for the rising number of solo female travelers and families.
SkiftTake: Taking safety alerts off the State Department website and into travelers’ pockets with real-time updates is a common sense innovation that will make travel safer and more enjoyable for users.
>> HyreCar connects car owners with Uber and Lyft drivers. Car owners can rent their cars to approved drivers and make money on their asset without having to actually drive strangers around, while drivers without cars can still engage in this sector of the sharing economy.
SkiftTake: HyreCar is one of many businesses growing around the sharing economy, but its longevity is dependent on the success and legality of its predecessors.
>> Swap and Surf is a home-sharing platform for the international surf community. The site’s goal is to make surf trips more affordable and the experience more local by connecting surfers with homes near the water. Users pay an annual fee to use the site and Swap&Surf verifies all houses and hosts.
SkiftTake: By focusing on a niche customer base, Swap&Surf differentiates itself in a growing market and adds value for its customers who are more likely to enjoy the experience since working with others that share a similar passion.