Skift Take

These five startups take problems that reduce the convenience factor and show how simplifying the small details of a trip goes a long way.

Many seasoned travelers and road warriors who prefer to plan their trips and set their own itineraries wonder why millions of people take cruises or escorted tours each year, for example.

Think cruises or bus tours — all the details are handled and someone is responsible for ensuring everything goes well. Most times they’re convenient and fun in the process.

And most people don’t have the time or ability to plan a trip from start to finish, especially if they only get a week or two of vacation each year.

Too often, the travel industry forgets travelers want free Wi-Fi, expedited and efficient customer service or a short-term rental in the city center because they want convenience. Convenience with technology, customer service, and accommodations is the first step to keep travelers happy. That’s why this week we look at five startups with strategies that keep convenience up front. By virtue, startups’ services are meant to make life easier for people. But these five startups take problems that reduce the convenience factor and show how simplifying the small details of a trip goes a long way.

Tagible integrates with travel brand websites to provide travelers with content about the destinations they’re searching for that’s meant to increase bookings.

>>SkiftTake: Many travel brands lament at how travelers often search dozens of sites for about as many days researching their trips. Providing travelers with rich content on your own site keeps them there longer and helps them remember you as a one-stop shop.

Totebox is a concierge service for Airbnb guests that sources local goods such as chocolates and wines and delivers them to Airbnb guests. Airbnb hosts get a cut of the proceeds.

>>SkiftTake: Some Airbnb hosts already offer welcome kits like this, not to mention the many hotels that have done this for years. Most travelers also don’t know what they should buy for souvenirs. Local businesses get support from Totebox, though we doubt people will pay $150 for this. Still, this seems like a part of the stay that Airbnb should own.

InnSpire helps hotels with in-room entertainment and lets guests stream content from their own streaming services and devices in their rooms.

>>SkiftTake: Guests have demonstrated that they prefer their own TV and movies over digital programming hotels dish out. If hotels want to be travelers’ “home away from home” like many claim, the least they can do is fork over the streaming services or allow guests to stream them.

Soundwalkers is a GPS-powered audio tour mobile app that also helps travelers find things to see and do around them.

>>SkiftTake: When audio tours are properly designed, it’s difficult to beat them. With many popular tourist destinations practically choking under the crush of tourists, taking a walking tour on your own schedule and pace makes a visit seem a little more personal and less overwhelming.

AwardAce helps travelers look up redemption rates for miles on several global airlines. It also explains which credit card programs transfer to which frequent flyer programs.

>>SkiftTake: The airline industry, with the three legacy U.S. carriers as prime examples, has moved towards measuring loyalty in dollars spent rather than miles flown. That makes better sense to the traveler and makes them feel more rewarded. Though AwardAce’s solution is still useful, travelers live their lives in dollars and appreciate communicating loyalty redemption that way.

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


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Our daily coverage of the global travel industry. Written by editors and analysts from across Skift’s brands.

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