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Skift Take

Slack is becoming the messaging app of choice for modern work teams, and these nascent travel services are just the start. Expect more established business travel related services and new Slack-native services to crop up in coming months.

— Rafat Ali

Slack, the super buzzy messaging app for businesses, is all the rage everywhere that people talk about tech, startups, valuations, and of course killing emails.

And now with 1.1 million daily active users in just a year-and-change of existence, $340 million in funding raised and a mega-unicorn $2.8 billion valuation to boot, a lot of third-party services — such as Dropbox, Google Hangouts and Google Drive, Twitter, Mailchimp, and many others — are now integrating their services within the Slack platform so users can use their services right from the Slack service.

In fact this is one of the main reasons for the hyper-growth of Slack: Its vast integration capability with these third-party apps keeps all these disparate digital services in one user interface.

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Most of these service integrations have so far been focused on tech teams, or tech-savvy business teams, as that was the Slack first-adopter userbase.

But as it moves into the mainstream work environment, its usage is now expanding into other early extra-curricular services through its main chat function, such as dating chat, startup advice chat, developers chat, and now, a new crop of group travel advice and booking services.

The two travel chat/advice services are offshoots of existing online travel communities: #nomads, by the online community NomadList, is an invite-only 3,000 member strong group of (primarily solo) business travelers that “chat life, work and travel” on Slack, as the site says. The use case as described by the site is pretty compelling, and worth reading in full:

Imagine landing, you exit the plane, get your data SIM card and jump in a taxi. While driving you open #nomads and join # on your phone, you ask what’s the best place to stay and where it’s located. You show the driver the address from the chat. You check in to your hotel and ask the chat what’s the best place to do some work. Then after finishing your work, you ask if anyone other nomads are up for a meet up. At the end of the night, you’ve met new people, both nomads and locals, and you feel a little bit more home in your new (temporary) destination. That’s one of the daily use-cases for many people in #nomads. Let’s kill lonely, together!

The second service, #TNdistrict, by black travelers online community Travel Noire, is a premium, subscription-based travel advice community for these travelers. Interestingly, it is restricting the service for now to only 300 paid members, each of whom pays $9 per month for access to the Slack group. Their description is also very global-nomad and very millennial-friendly:

Imagine booking a flight to Milan after a long day at work. On your way home, you open #TNdistrict and join the #milan channel on your phone. You ask for local boutique hotel recommendations near the city centre. A few minutes later, 10 new hotel recommendations appear.

You browse through each one and select a hotel that you love. As soon as you step in your apartment, you get a notification in the #dirtcheapairfare channel about a super cheap flight to Rome from NYC — $350 roundtrip.

You immediately book your flight & hotel and hop into the #nyc channel to ask if anyone is up for catching brunch the next day. By the end of the night, you’ve saved hundreds of dollars on your flight, booked an amazing hotel & will connect with fellow travelers in just a few hours.

This is a typical day in our chat community. Welcome to the District (#TNdistrict).

 

Now to Booking

But the most interesting travel service on Slack launched last week to some social buzz. Called Roomino, this startup is billing itself as the first Slack team group hotel booking service. It is adding Uber, flight, bus, Airbnb, and fast-growing expense-reporting-done-easy startup Expensify integrations as well, according the founders.

After integrating Roomino service with Slack (not for the tech newbies, but then if you were, you wouldn’t be using Slack, would you?), users can start with simple chat queries within their Slack app: “roomino i need a hotel in new york from 08/01 to 08/02” and the Roomino “bot” within Slack will display you the available options, as the video below shows.

After the options are displayed within Slack chat room, the booking takes you to the Roomino site where you can complete the booking. Since the Roomino service is integrated with Slack inside a team, the users within a team can invite each other, complete the booking, and all team bookings are displayed for everyone else to see.

You can see how the service becomes a lot more useful for business teams once these other promised integrations happen. They centralize all the team bookings into one place, all authenticated, searched, and enabled through Slack.

Co-founder Josue Gio says that for now Roomino is partners with Expedia and looking for more booing services to add on as “The idea with Roomino is not to be another online travel agency or metasearch, but to create a platform where multiple travel services can be connected with Slack.”

Will Slack succeed where other platform companies like Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest have failed? These other established consumer services have mainly been used by traveler and travel companies as communication and outreach tools, and none of the service integrations on bookings have taken off on these platforms.

With Slack’s focus on professional teams, the chances of creating authenticated group travel services stand a better chance. At least in theory.

Tags: booking, otas, slack

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