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This year hundreds of startups tapped into the mobile travel trend and released apps aimed at improving users’ trip planning process.
Many of the apps, including those below, want to make it easier for users to enjoy the moment but that intention is often disrupted by the act of staring at a smartphone.
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>> Hossbrag is a networking site for hospitality professionals, and in particular, those that work directly with customers. Similar to LinkedIn, users can endorse and connect with other users. The network also recommends job candidates to employers.
SkiftTake: LinkedIn is already the defacto networking platform. Industry-specific sites like Hossbrag might make it more convenient to search through a user base, but its coverage will be less comprehensive than major social networks.
>> Sortie is a discovery app that suggests “missions” or itineraries that add meaning, context, or direction to city exploration. Users can find specific lists based on their interests and check off locations for food, photos, and shopping. Users can also create mapped to-do lists for friends.
SkiftTake: This isn’t the first mobile app to add a gaming element to the usual neighborhood itinerary. It’s easy-to-follow visuals and light checkpoints make it a fun tool for the causal or laid-back traveler.
>> Nowly is a mobile app that allows users to broadcast where they are when available for a quick meet. It can be used to connect with friends or meet someone new.
SkiftTake: Should it take off, Nowly could be used to fill the lonely moments when travelers grab lunch or a coffee alone or pass the time while waiting for planes and trains.
>> Voyando is a travel consulting service. Travelers submit their travel plans and preferences to a group of experts who search for the best deals online. The traveler receives proposals from experts and selects their preferred choice. For a small fee, the expert provides the traveler with detailed booking instructions.
SkiftTake: Voyando might have a hard time finding real travel experts who are willing to find deals for others for $50 or less.
>> Reppio helps travelers shop like a local. Users can explore local stores, filter by location and style, and buy what they find online. There are also city guides that users can use to plan their shopping trips ahead of arrival.
SkiftTake: Travelers are looking to experience local stores, restaurants, and clubs in a new destination and any site that helps them find notable spots off the tourist trail are on track to grow in 2014.