For every problem a big travel brand ignores a startup will succeed or fail at tackling it and give travelers more reason to demand smarter progress.
But in other cases trends have moved too vigorously for brands to keep up every step of the way, such as with responding to the threat of alternative accommodations or deciding if virtual reality adds value to their product.
This week’s five startups address some of these problems by considering scenarios where established legacy brands have seen shortcomings and where opportunities still aren’t unlocked. They are problems travelers wanted solutions to yesterday and while a few brands deserve some credit for treading water with these trends many others have yet to acknowledge them or admit the challenges they pose.
>>Overnight lets travelers book last-minute stays with hosts at alternative accommodations. Hosts decide day-of whether or not to accept a guest’s booking and all listings are private.
SkiftTake: Most travelers aren’t looking for a HotelTonight-like application for alternative accommodations but they do want their bookings to be accepted and confirmed much quicker than they are now on sites like Airbnb.
>>YonderWork is a six month experience for travelers to remotely work and travel to three countries to work out of local co-working spaces and participate in social and professional community events.
SkiftTake: More experiences like this would contribute some impact, however small, to America’s no vacation nation problem as employees would still be traveling and getting away from their traditional office environments.
>>Curadora helps travelers book hotel stays for live shows and events. They can book on desktop or mobile without having to use an app.
SkiftTake: As we recently saw with Super Bowl 50, the mainstreaming of Airbnb at the event didn’t necessarily create more inventory and affordable lodging for fans. Travel brands should develop smarter strategies around larger events that place emphasis on affordability so that alternative accommodations truly are alternatives.
>>VenueCenter lets venues list their spaces and event planners find the right space they need.
SkiftTake: A site like VenueCenter won’t always be where event planners make the final choice for where their event will be held but it could be a great screening tool to help whittle down options faster.
>>QuestUpon offers guided virtual reality tours of destinations.
SkiftTake: The conversation around virtual reality in the travel industry has so far centered on using it to give travelers a hint of what to expect when visiting a destination. But what about the people who will never travel to some place but still want to see a particular museum, for example? Virtual reality has huge potential to capture armchair travelers who are usually ignored by travel brands and monetize their fascination with a destination even if they’ll never physically set foot there.
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