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This week’s roundup of travel startups looks at services matching those that have ideas or assets — from itineraries to planes — to those that do not with the ultimate goal of making travel more affordable and enjoyable for all.
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>> AirHelp assists flyers collect compensation for flights that have been cancelled, overbooked, or delayed by more than 3 hours in EU airspace. AirHelp collects information on the claim and takes 25 percent of total compensation, which airlines are mandated to give only in the EU.
SkiftTake: Many flyers are not aware of the EU regulations or may not want to go through the hassle of trying to redeem the compensation, making AirHelp a useful tool with profitable business model.
>> Flytenow is a service that matches private pilots and people that want to try traveling on a small plane. Flyers share the cost of the flight with the pilot making the trip more affordable for the travelers and the pilots. The service is currently live in Boston.
SkiftTake: The platform breaks down the barriers to private flying in which only friends and family of pilots can afford to take short trips in small planes. However, there are serious safety and insurance risks should something go wrong in the air.
>> Softinn is booking technology created for vacation rental hosts. Softinn takes a lower commission, powers direct bookings on hosts’ websites and Facebook, autobills guests, and manages room rates.
SkiftTake: There are an increasing number of technologies being developed to give vacation rental hosts’ more booking and management power. The platforms’ utility, design, and ease of use will set them apart from one another.
>> Cruise Retirement is a concept cruise business that wants to create a retire community directly on a cruise ship. Passengers would live full-time on the ship as it sails around the world.
SkiftTake: The startup doesn’t appear to have a ship or set itinerary making it just a proposal at this point, but similar concepts, like students’ study abroad at sea programs, have been very successful.
>> Kicktraveler allows travelers to propose trip itineraries in hopes of finding companions. Trip organizers wait for a minimum number of travelers to join and commit 10 percent of the estimated trip cost before moving ahead and finalizing itinerary details and bookings.
SkiftTake: The current business model seems like a hotbed for corruption in which a trip organizer collects others’ 10-percent commitment and then takes off a trip of his or her own.