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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.
Changing consumers’ expectations of the hotel booking process will take time, no matter how ingenuous the new model may be, suggesting that most of these startups have to gain support and build awareness before seeing any meaningful growth.
This week’s startups all strive to improve current travel industry models, whether it be tweaking hostel booking in favor of owners or hotel bids for guests.
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>> Outdoors is Airbnb for outdoor equipment. Users write a description and upload a photo of their gear, set a price, and then list it on the marketplace. Users must be approved by equipment owners before being allowed to rent the gear, which can be delivered or picked up in person.
SkiftTake: This is a natural extension of the peer-to-peer market, especially considering the cost of many outdoor items in relation the amount of time they are used.
>> UrbanBird creates maps based on users’ photos. The service automatically adds dates, locations, titles and descriptions to photos and populates them on a map highlighting the path taken or businesses visited on a trip.
SkiftTake: UrbanBird adds context to the thousands of photos that are so easily taken today.
>> Surprice Hotels is a blind hotel booking website targeting the Polish and German markets. Leisure travelers can use the site to book a hotel at a discount rate, but will only learn the name of the hotel after the booking is completed.
SkiftTake: Hotwire is already the dominant player when it comes to blind booking limiting Surprice Hotels’ international growth
>> XciteGO make hotel booking a real-time agreement between guests and property managers, giving travelers the opportunity to bid (higher or lower) for rooms and managers the opportunity to liquidate empty rooms.
SkiftTake: It will take time for a change this large to gain traction among travelers and will likely find legs among a niche kind of hotel and group of travelers.
>> Rm8Links is a hostel booking app that lowers commission fees and adds booking services for hostel owners. Using the app, owners can learn more about guests including their interests, purposes of travel, nationalities, and languages. They can use that information to offer deals or experiences to guests. Travelers using the app can book via the app as well as see which staff is working there.
SkiftTake: Rm8 is a hostel booking app designed for owners first, but its added functionality actually improves travelers’ experience by giving the hostel the opportunity to surprise and cater to the guests.