There are hundreds of small platforms that offer an unprecedented way to travel in terms of making connections and saving on costs. However, most travelers don't have the time or flexibility to make these sites work there limited time off.
Each of these startups aims to sweeten standard travel transactions either by providing insider information, access to local homes and boats, or prices available to a very few.
>> OutofOffice aims to bring corporate rates to leisure travelers by leveraging its business relationships to secure negotiated offerings from vendors. Users’ companies must enroll with OutofOffice.travel to secure the leisure travel benefits.
SkiftTake: Every traveler would like to apply business rates to their personal travels but it’s never been accomplished, for many reasons, on a large scale. It appears that OutofOffice is an incentive platform that draws organizations in by increasing benefits for employees.
>> FlipTrip Travels is a Filipino booking site that connects travelers with locals in order to discover new destinations and book local transportation and lodging. Users can search by destination or activity, select tours and hotels, and book it directly on the site.
SkiftTake: FlipTrip is a niche travel site that covers only one market, but provides value by going deep into destinations skipped over by more mainstream sites.
>> Anchor.Travel is a peer-to-peer yachts rental service that allows boat owners to connect with renters online. The platform currently has boat listings throughout Europe.
SkiftTake: Peer-to-peer boat rentals started to gain momentum in 2013 making Anchor.Travel a relatively late player. Although there’s been some growth, none of the platforms have become mainstream hits — partly due to the niche nature of the product.
>> Hometown Tourist is content-driven website where locals can share recommendations from their home town including top attractions, best places for happy hours and dancing, and local customs. Locals can submit their tips directly on the website. There are currently recommendations live for 16 cities in the U.S. as well as several in Europe and Asia.
SkiftTake: Hometown Tourist is more of a blog than a startup with growth potential, but does have potential due to its user-generated content model and the growing obsession of local recommendations.
>> Magpie is a home rental platform that allows users to exchange nights as part of a credit system rather than pay for a stay. The platform aims to avoid the regulatory issues that platforms like Airbnb has run into while providing an inexpensive option for experiential lodging.
SkiftTake: Magpie isn’t the first platform built around the idea of an “exchange system” and it’s unlikely that any of them will become mainstream given the risk involved in such international transactions.
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Photo credit: Hometown Tourist is content-driven website where locals can share recommendations from their home town. Hometown Tourist