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These five startup sites all take care of bookings, but their focus spans from the traditional hotel conference space to the very new bitcoin market. There is also a search site for golf courses, travel packages in Portugal, and local friends.
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>> Golfscape is a search site for luxury golf destinations worldwide. It targets travelers that prefer to search and book personal travel rather than use a concierge service. Users can search courses based on destination and course type. Golf courses can also list their properties and reach out to new customers. The beta version launched in 2013.
SkiftTake: The website provides a quick overview on each course and a space for reviews, but it does not provide a clear path to booking. This is imperative to creating a seamless experience for users and a revenue stream for the startup.
>> BitTravel is more of a concept than an actual startup at this point. The aim is to create a platform where bitcoin owners can use the digital currency to book vacation rentals and activities.
SkiftTake: Virgin Galactic was the first major company to accept bitcoin for travel, but BitTravel positions itself more as a peer-to-peer travel network based around bitcoin. The concept is viable for as long as the bitcoin bubble survives.
>> Localoids is social travel network that wants to connect travelers with locals. Travelers can search for like-minded locals based on the site’s suggestions prior to a trip and plan local activities for when they arrive. The site has not yet launched.
SkiftTake: There are so many websites where locals can show travelers around or host them for a small fee that it seems almost utopian to imagine that both parties would be willing to connect for free.
>> Wisergo is a marketplace for customized travel packages. Users submit a trip request that local experts respond to with complete packages. The user then chooses one package that is booked by the selected expert. The company is currently testing its beta product for Portugal trips, but plans to expand to multiple countries in early 2014.
SkiftTake: This is a very niche site since it is focused on one country, but the bidding model could be carried over to countries worldwide. Finding quality and trustworthy experts is the first step towards building out this still young company.
>> HotelWalla is a widget that event organizers can embed on their website to show attendees nearby hotels. Rooms can be booked directly via the widget without users having to leave the event page. The widget is powered by Mexican last-minute hotel booking site LastRoom.
SkiftTake: HotelWalla brings the ease of mobile booking to the event space and provides an additional funnel of bookings for parent company LastRoom. The widget’s biggest obstacle will be travelers’ eagerness to search several sites before booking.