For all the hype the online travel world generates every time a new acquisition is announced it hasn't made the travel booking process as simple and transparent as it could be in some cases. We'll see if new entrants can help move this cause along in 2016.
A year ago the thought of TripAdvisor as an online booking threat wasn’t taken as seriously as it is now. But more consolidation in online travel doesn’t imply choices will become easier to understand or delineate. This week’s five startups represent thematic shifts already happening or fast approaching the online travel agency space and consider how booking behavior has evolved during the past year.
>>Biz Airlines is a business travel booking solution focused on providing executives with direct and cost-effective travel options. The mobile app mix and matches airline offerings, airport transfers and charter jets and provides managed travel itineraries on native iOS and Android apps.
SkiftTake: Many CEOs and executives probably don’t book their own travel but Biz Airlines speaks to the broader trend of business travel becoming more exclusive with the proliferation of private jets bookable for such travel, for example.
>>Cape is a mobile app for improving the standby passenger experience.
SkiftTake: The process of flying standby is long overdue to come online with some travelers preferring this method of flying rather than buying tickets in advance.
>>TravelCloud is a metasearch engine for the short-term and vacation rentals.
SkiftTake: While TravelCloud isn’t the first player in the vacation rental metasearch space there’s still the question of whether property owners are ready for a metasearch experience. Especially the people hard-pressed to make their listings bookable online.
>>Vossy is a booking site and curated collection of boutique hotels around the world. The site is geared towards Asia-Pacific where boutique hotels’ popularity continues to rise.
SkiftTake: Thinking small with hotels is key in 2016 as chain loyalty starts to erode with frequent travelers and loyalty to one property has its benefits as well.
>>Mioji seeks to automate travel arrangements by providing real-time access and analysis to all travel options based on thousands of online travel agencies, relevant travel products and user-generated content reviews in different languages.
SkiftTake: Automating doesn’t mean service standards need to be sacrificed. This year will see more brands getting closer to making end-to-end travel booking a process that lasts only a few seconds.
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