Skift Take

Crowdsourcing enough data to make a service informative for new users can either be difficult or a fast track to becoming a valuable resource. Branding and marketing are key in acquiring initial submissions.

These new travel startups rely on the power of curation to collect existing data and information from travelers to create a sum of information that is greater than its parts. It can be difficult to launch with enough value to attract users, making these startups’ strategy a smart one for acquiring users.

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>> Xola is a B2B booking and marketing platform where adventure travel outfitters and urban tour guides can manage reservations, payments and calendars. Xola allows any company to add online reservation capabilities to their website in three steps.

SkiftTake: Taking operations online to increase leads and revenues is a challenge for many small tour companies and guides making Xola’s B2B approach to the tourism market a smart and profitable path.

>> MiFlight is a crowdsourced travel app where users can share or find waiting times for airport security checkpoints. The goal is to save travelers’ time when PreCheck’s promises fall short.

SkiftTake: There is clearly high demand for expedited wait times at airports making the app a timely concept. However, it may prove difficult to gain enough users submitting wait times to make the app useful to new users.

>> Airspruce is a platform where Airbnb hosts or vacation rental owners can find a professional travel writer to craft concise, exciting copy for their property listing. The service, which include a title, property description, and photo captions, costs approximately $80 (£50).

SkiftTake: Airspruce is one of several startups built to service the larger sharing economy. Although expensive, the service is a great idea if improved listings do indeed lead to higher revenues over the long run.

>> TripExpert enters the hotel user review market ready to disrupt the way travelers get their reviews about hotels. The site will curate expert reviews from publications such as the New York Times and Frommers, for example, to determine the TripExpert score based on the general consensus of expert reviewers. Co-founder Andrew Nicol says there will never be any user reviews on the site, only expert reviews.

Skifttake: A travel review startup that thinks it can disrupt a review site such as TripAdvisor by directly competing is very unlikely to succeed. But TripExpert is looking to differentiate itself by offering expert, trusted reviews. If TripExpert can distinguish itself from TripAdvisor enough to show people they’ll get a better source from the site, it may have a future.

>> Outbound is a mobile app where users can find and connect with like-minded travelers based on nearby location, upcoming events, or a noticeboard. The app also crowdsources Wi-Fi hotspots to help travelers arriving in a new destination.

SkiftTake: Consumer apps that connect travelers have, traditionally, had a tough time gaining enough users to build a community that informs and improves new users’ trips.

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Tags: apps, skiftseedlings, startups

Photo credit: MiFlight is a crowdsourced travel app where users can share or find waiting times for airport security checkpoints. MiFlight

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