Skift Take

While many of the challengers to legacy brands and systems have gained legitimacy and formed partnerships this year, we're still in the early stages of the eruptions along the fault lines of travel. Here are a few startups placing their bets in the midst of this.

skift-seedlingsThis year will be remembered across the travel industry as one when key fault lines were tested and both sides of the argument gained footing with travelers.

We’re referring to the battles of alternative accommodations versus traditional hotels, travel agents versus travel consultants, ride-hailing versus car rentals and brands versus booking sites, for example.

Skift laid out these and other fault lines last year to outline opportunities for disruption in the industry. Brands’ best chances for success come at capitalizing on these clashes rather than shrugging them off or burying them under their own messaging. In some cases, the best answers lie in completely new industries that mix old and new. The good news is we’ve seen examples of travel brands confronting these challenges in smart ways and likely winning over more consumers in the process.

Let’s look at five startups that represent these fault lines and the advantages and disadvantages both sides pose:


LovTransfers is a booking site for city-to-city transportation for person-to-person trips or trips sold by small and medium sized ground transport companies.

>>SkiftTake: The global city-to-city transportation market — one that ride-sharing giants have yet to break into — is still ripe for disruption from legacy bus and rail brands.


TravelBank is a travel and expense system that targets small and medium businesses and its software predicts expenses and gives cash rewards if users come in under budget. It’s also integrated with, NetSuite and QuickBooks for companies that already use those services.

>>SkiftTake: The integrations with TravelBank are appealing, but the dust is far from settling on who will capture the most marketshare with corporate travel expenses and rewards.


OneGo offers unlimited domestic U.S. flights for the price of a monthly subscription payment. The traveler uses an iOS app to interact with the service, which uses global distribution systems for the flight information discovery and booking aspects.

>>SkiftTake: As our coverage of OneGo earlier this year noted, unlimited air bookings aren’t exactly a new thing — high-spenders and frequent flyers have been rewarded with similar programs from airlines themselves for years. Though a subscription based service is still an interesting concept and shouldn’t be discounted just yet.


30k shows travelers how many rewards miles they can earn on any flight when booking through online travel agencies. It also shows which fares are upgradable with miles and how many miles you need to spend to upgrade.

>>SkiftTake: It’s a shame online travel agencies didn’t get on this game sooner but great that a startup has recognized changing consumer behavior trends.


RateGain is a cloud-based software that helps companies with rate intelligence, price optimization, channel distribution and brand engagement.

>>SkiftTake: RateGain helps brands keep tabs on the competition and adjust their rates in real-time as it shows hotels how their rates compare to Airbnb rentals in their area and other hotels across sites and online travel agencies.

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

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Tags: skiftseedlings, startups

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