This week’s startups are looking to fix elements of the travel experience that don’t necessarily need fixing. However, with travel cheaper and easier to plan and book, startups are aiming to make the process from thinking about a trip to actually being on it as seamless as possible.
>> MobiVisa is an online platform that claims to be able to process travel visas online. Users can find the correct form for their circumstance, fill it out and pay via credit card. The platform will then send the traveler a QR code through which they can print their documents.
SkiftTake: We included this startup because we wish processing travel documents could be so easy; however, it’s unlikely that governments that still require visas will hand over any control to a third-party.
>> HostWise gives Airbnb hosts access to hotel-level housekeeping. The service provides luxury linens, guest toiletry kits and booking housekeepers to help hosts deliver the best experience.
SkiftTake: Airbnb is on its way to becoming as uniform as the hotel industry with cleanliness and customer service at the top of customers’ decision factors.
>> ComboTrip is a group booking engine that considers all part of the travel experience including flight, ground transportation and lodging. All trip participants can share possible travel plans, comment on them and book through the site.
SkiftTake: Group booking and multi-modal booking are two activities that platforms have chased for years — neither with any last success. There’s clearly a need but it’s one that’s proved difficult to meet.
>> ComparaBus is a search and booking engine engine for ground transportation including buses and ride-sharing services. Users are taken directly to the third-party site to complete bookings. The site is still in beta but claims to have more transit options for more than 2,200 cities in 43 countries.
SkiftTake: Ground transportation has become a hot sector for startups looking to create the next generation of travel booking sites. None of these aggregate sites, however, have managed to become as popular their flight or hotel booking counterparts.
>> Knowhere is a travel search engine based on photography. The site collects users’ preferences and then serves up a stream of possible travel destinations. Only once users click on a destination are they shown more details about the actual place. Bookings take place off-site.
SkiftTake: Visuals are the first element of any travel inspiration so tying such images to actual trip details is a great idea. However, consumers today are inundated by so many visuals that it’d be better to tie actionable information to those platforms than create a new one with even more photos.
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