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This week’s five startups all attempt to show the traveler a glimpse of the future: Speaking flight preferences and instantly receiving a working itinerary. Accessing a Wi-Fi network in one-click. Leaving a tip through a mobile app.
These actions and more are already possible and will continue to become more commonplace as the travel industry begins looking at a more detailed picture of the traveler this year.
>>Alexis is a travel concierge mobile app that lets travelers speak flight and hotel preferences into the app and suggests tour guides based on preferred language.
SkiftTake: Being able to speak flight and hotel preferences into an app on-the-go and get instant recommendations is what travelers would love. But having a human behind this interaction is important as technology isn’t at the point that intermediaries can be eliminated, and this sometimes makes the travel booking process slower than what travelers are expecting.
>>PodShare lets travelers stay overnight at a co-working space and gain access to the space for work and to socialize with other travelers.
SkiftTake: Perhaps we’re jaded, but it doesn’t seem like millennial business travelers would prefer staying in a place like a PodShare versus a hotel or Airbnb. Travel is a social experience and we think leisure travelers would find more value in something like this.
>>Flio offers information and exclusive retail offers at airports. It also allows travelers one-click access to free Wi-Fi at 350 airports.
SkiftTake: Flio had us at one-click free Wi-Fi access, still a rarity at many airports.
>>Direct 2 Guests is a proprietary mobile app specializing in providing hotels with tablets for guest rooms. The tablets offer integration with hotel services and local insider information such as dining, activities and weather.
SkiftTake: Putting technology in rooms makes communication easier between staff and guests and better encourages a conversation to take place than if the tablets weren’t there. Travelers aren’t being asked to download anything, but on the other hand they still enjoy using their own devices.
>>TipGenie is a mobile app that enables cashless, customized tipping and personalized feedback within a three-way integrated payment system.
SkiftTake: Travelers have been writing about their experiences with wait staff on public forums like TripAdvisor and OpenTable for years. This more private arena for personalized feedback might take that a step further into segmenting specific aspects of the dining experience so that a server receives constructive criticism and praise for what was right and what needs improvement.