This week’s roundup of travel startups looks at two apps that want to help travelers feel like locals, a place to complain about taxi drivers, a platform to rent an apartment for an extended stay, and a platform for finding wedding venues.
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» Locish helps travelers experience a new city like a local by sending users real-time personalized recommendations about what to do and see from people that live there. The app launched in Athens, has raised $80,000 in seed funding from OpenFund, and is currently preparing for its San Francisco and New York launch.
SkiftTake: Locish is one of many travel apps aiming to make visitors feel like locals. The user experience is key to the app’s success and attracting enough “local experts” to knowledgeably answer visitors’ questions in real time would local search easier, although not necessarily as informative as crowded source review sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor.
» Withlocals is a peer-to-peer marketplace where locals can sell experiences to travelers. Experiences are broken down into three categories including tours, home-cooked meals, and activities. Withlocals has raised $500,000 in funding from Greenhouse Group.
SkiftTake: The Netherlands-based startup is launching in Asia, likely to avoid competition from “live like a local” services and marketplaces already prolific in the U.S. and Europe. Its greatest obstacle will be attracting the site’s first locals in a region that where it is not based.
» Taxikick is a Philippine web app that lets commuters complain about rude taxi drivers. Riders have to submit the plate number and taxi name to add their gripes to the site. Taxikick then sends all feedback to public transport regulators in the Philippines. The startup recently partnered with taxi booking service, GrabTaxi.
SkiftTake: The partnership is a win for passengers who can look forward to an improved transit experience and for GrabTaxi who will omit bad drivers from the app. However, it’s unlikely that taxi drivers — known for overcharging or refusing passengers — are happy about the new technology.
» Rooming is a Netherland-based startup that markets itself as the “Airbnb for long-term rentals.” Users can create a free account by signing in via Facebook and use the site to message potential roommates and landlords. Rooming also shows users any connections they might have to people renting a room.
SkiftTake: Airbnb is already used for long-term rentals whether it be for work assignments, study abroad programs, or extended vacations. Rooming will have a tough time competing in the market unless it focuses on rentals longer than a certain time period than Airbnb offers.
» The Hitch is a platform where couples can search and book wedding venues. The Hitch allows couples to filter for venue details, provides a platform to organization choices, and offers online payments. Venues can customize profiles, maintain a booking calendar, and process payments.
SkiftTake: The wedding industry in a multi-billion industry that is closely tied to the travel industry — both in terms of the search and booking process as well as the travel that it sparks. There is ample opportunity to add to the platform and expand beyond venues to include hotel rooms, car services, and air travel.