Skift Take

Sometimes when brands look at a problem in a way they never have, new creativity comes out and fresh ideas are hatched. It's especially helpful to do this when considering problems that have plagued travelers for decades.

So far 2016 has already been a year of brands looking ahead to what could be, whether it’s messaging a hotel to confirm arrival details or visiting the sunny beaches of Florida wearing a virtual reality headset.

This week’s five startups want to solve critical travel problems in their own rights, whether it’s learning how to serve travelers location-based audio content or helping them communicate with restaurant servers in real-time. They reached for decades-old travel issues that remain unsolved and found a way to propose new ideas to tackle them.

>>NearStory is an audio platform streaming audio stories from multiple sources that are relevant to a traveler’s interests and location. The mobile app delivers podcasts, historical speeches, news broadcasts, interviews, music, environmental sounds and other audio to travelers.

SkiftTake: An app that knows where you are when you’re traveling and tries to be smart about that is marvelous simply for being location sensitive. Travelers don’t want to listen to everything that gets served to them, so there needs to be an extra level of intelligence to ensure what’s getting served to travelers actually matters, and that content can be saved for later.

>>DigitalOutposts helps professionals find co-working spaces around the world so that they can get out of their offices and travel at the same time. The company provides accommodations, workspaces, group activities and discounts for professional services.

SkiftTake: Many companies are more flexible with employees taking time off despite so many Americans not using that time. Employers who let their employees work remotely are encouraging travel and time off and still getting productivity (we hope) out of their staff.

>>CorreyVuela is a global flight search engine letting travelers book flights using WhatsApp.

SkiftTake: We’re weary of travelers using a service like this to book a flight without doing their own research first. What if the flight that gets booked isn’t the best option, in terms of lowest fare or most direct route? A platform like CorreyVuela is ideal for getting help and asking questions but the technology hasn’t caught up yet to make something like this worthwhile for the traveler.

>>PicYourTrip lets travelers book local photographers in their destinations to take photos of their trip experiences.

SkiftTake: Many cities around the world continue banning selfie sticks. That alone isn’t a reason to hire a photographer to take your photo as you travel. Although that appears to be a growing trend as Skift has reported. Millennial travelers in particular value photos depicting experiences and want those photos to look professional. There are business opportunities here for big brands and travel photography companies to collaborate.

>>MyBonami shows travelers a restaurant’s menu in their native language and lets them order through the mobile app and translate key phrases for servers.

SkiftTake: Google Translate’s app has let travelers translate menus for a little more than a year but that doesn’t fully help travelers if they need to converse with someone in a different language. Receiving a quick translation through a mobile app that places your order for you in another language is a tool travelers are ready for. They have their phones out at the dinner table anyway.

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

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Tags: skiftseedlings, startups

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