Disruption and personalization by travel brands helped continue travel’s evolution to a more unique experience this year, even if in practice these two terms weren’t always realized to their true definitions. Numerous studies have emerged indicating that travelers feel like brands don’t really know them or offer them any personalized incentives, and disruption doesn’t mean copying an already successful company because you believe you can do something better.
These five startups have ideas to challenge the conventions of institutions that gave birth to the modern travel industry during the past century and build upon themes that will endure and define trendlines in 2016.
>>6hourly lets travelers book hotel rooms for blocks of hours and can use all of the hotel’s amenities and facilities during that time.
SkiftTake: Ideal for business travelers or those with lengthy layovers looking for a place to crash, 6hourly turns the traditional “nightly” hotel rate model on its head and imagines a solution for travelers who pay for a room only for the time they need it.
>>Porter & Sail is a mobile concierge app for hotel guests that uses local experts to offer personalized recommendations and destination guides to guests of partner hotels in select cities.
SkiftTake: Guests often associate a concierge as someone who works at the hotel who can help them and offer advice. A person offering a guest advice who the guest can’t interact with face-to-face doesn’t necessarily create a higher value add for a hotel’s own hospitality, where repeat guests get to know staff and their expertise.
>>Homelike lets business travelers rent furnished apartments that are business-ready for months at a time.
SkiftTake: Airbnb already entered the business travel space this year and 2016 promises to see much more competition vying to get business travelers out of hotels and into apartments, even as many business travelers still hold a stigma against this.
>>Maidbot gives hotels robots for housekeeping and cleaning tasks so that staff can focus on more detail-oriented housekeeping tasks.
SkiftTake: Maidbot isn’t meant to replace humans who know hospitality far better than most (if not all) machines. But it is meant to save hotels a little time and money by letting housekeeping staff focus on larger tasks or more personalized guest requests that may be difficult for them to currently do.
>>Adventurely lets travelers select tourist activities they want to go to in a particular city, the dates they’re free to attend within the next week and Adventurely then allows them to text other travelers who picked the same dates/activities so they can coordinate going together.
SkiftTake: Solo travel is on the rise, particularly for women. Many people who choose to travel solo want to travel that way and purposefully don’t want others tagging along. But to fill in some holes during a trip, meet new friends and create a little companionship, a tool like Adventurely is an ideal solution for when solo travel becomes too lonely.