Skift Take

For every new tours and activities startup that is born, another one dies. For these startups to keep a pulse, they'll have to convince consumers and business owners that they offer more humanistic experiences than if they dealt with an established, successful company.

seedlingsTravelers book walking tours, hiking trips and skydiving thrills because they want to understand the deeper meaning of the places they visit, along with learning more about themselves in the process. A food tour of Rome’s cobblestoned, sun-drenched Trastevere neighborhood, or a kayak adventure of the Colorado river are the climaxes of anticipation and excitement that every trip holds.

A tours and activities company has the responsibility to keep the magic of exploration and discovery alive for travelers, and best practices for doing that change every day. Tours and activities have mobile futures where travelers book on-the-go, use their phones as audio guides, and leave feedback about a tour guide while walking to their dinner reservation. These five travel startups help create focused booking experiences for travelers and offer tours and activities companies solutions to make their businesses more viable in one of the most crowded travel spaces.

>>Musement is an activities booking startup with a range of offerings including sightseeing or food tours and diving excursions. Musement currently offers activities in southern Europe.

SkiftTake: Do tours and activities startups like Musement have a shot at staying alive when already existing giants like Viator and GetYourGuide are ready to devour its lunch? We’ll see, but Musement’s price match guarantee is a nice touch.

>>Project Expedition is a discovery and booking tool for tours and activities focusing in Central America. Launched earlier this year, so far the startup has about 800 tours and activities bookable in 10 countries.

SkiftTake: As with Musement, it’s difficult to break into the tours and activities space as a startup. Since Project Expedition is promoting its selling point that it’s stronger in Central America than Viator, will a large company like TripAdvisor see an opportunity for an acquisition at some point for a company like this?

>>Guidelance lets travelers book tours and activities and request custom tours from local guides as well as receive deals from tour companies.

SkiftTake: It’s a little slow-going getting to the actual tours and activities on Guidelance, but the qualifying questions travelers must first answer when arriving on the site, in theory, hopefully contribute to a greater level of personalization.

>>Booking Boss helps tours and activities businesses automate their bookings, manage inventory, improve marketing and analyze revenue sources.

SkiftTake: The functions that Booking Boss says it can help with are historically weak points for tours and activities companies who often have outdated websites and aren’t managing bookings efficiently.

>>YewwShare helps tourism companies automatically assist their guests from the moment they book to after they leave. It offers digital waivers, photo sales and sharing, kiosks and real-time customer intelligence.

SkiftTake: The future of tours and activities is on mobile and startups need to prepare themselves for this so that travelers’ end-to-end experiences aren’t impeded by antiquated technology.

For all of our SkiftSeedlings coverage, check out our archives here.



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