Every day new business ideas are formulated, new companies are created, new businesses established. Many of them, regardless of industry, are looking to disrupt and change the environment they exist in. The only way for them to get ahead is to offer something consumers haven’t seen before, or offer value no competitor can match.
Both strategies are risky and often a startup will crash and burn, lost among the overwhelming competition and innovation or simply because their target market doesn’t respond how they predicted.
A select few manage to forge a successful niche, or in some cases a global presence, striking at the right time, in the right place, to the right people. Here are 5 startups providing a unique and useful service in the travel industry…
Based in London since 2014, Airportr picks up luggage anywhere inside the M25, and drops it off at either Gatwick or Heathrow airports. Collaborating with British Airways, it also offers the additional service of checking in bags remotely. The company also plans to expand by adding more airlines, before branching out geographically.
What makes Airportr special?
Given international arrivals are set to increase from 1.3 billion in 2017 to 2.3 billion by 2030 and increasingly strict regulations around baggage, a company that takes away the hassle will be popular.
Launched two years ago, Flyto builds software that integrates with a travel provider’s website and offers customers a way to pay for their travel in instalments, while Flyto pays the travel provider upfront. Flyto is already backed by Mastercard and Telefonica and is being advised by executives from Sabre and British Airways.
What makes Flyto special?
It’s a system that presents a very lucrative offer to travellers, who may use it to travel more regularly. It gives them more freedom and flexibility to visit the places they love.
3. Hotel Tonight
This app lets users find cheap hotel rooms at the last minute and is now available at 250 destinations in 17 countries, expanding further into Europe with the additions of Germany and Switzerland last year. The company also added a couple of innovative features: users can now ‘gift’ a room to someone else, and ‘Snap Your Stay’ encourages users to snap, edit, and upload shots of their hotel rooms to receive credits ranging from $5 to $10. This means instead of hiring professional photographers to generate a visual presence, it crowdsources photos from its social media base of customers.
What makes Hotel Tonight special?
For hotels in busy destinations, it’s a perfect partner to achieve late increases in occupancy and drive more revenue. You can read more about how we work with Hotel Tonight here.
4. Net Solutions
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has come a long way. Its ability to understand human behaviour, particularly in terms of natural language understanding (NLU) and natural language processing (NLP) is now advanced. Chatbots allow travellers to directly interact with travel agents in a trusted manner, before and during travel.
Net Solutions leverages chatbots to provide a personalised travel experience. The startup’s chatbots can be launched on Messenger, Telegram, and Slack and other services, providing full analytics to better understand customer behaviour. The service includes features such as customer support, tracking orders, and distributing content.
What makes Net Solutions special?
As hotels move deeper into improving customer service, systems like these could help make the job much simpler, paving the way for more fluid conversations between businesses and guests.
Alice was created four years ago to make life easier for hotels to manage their operations. With Expedia as an investor, Alice provides a single system for guests, front-of-house workers, and back-of-house staff to communicate and track requests. The unified system means that a guest request sent via text message for perhaps more pillows or mini-bar snacks is conveyed to the right member of staff at the hotel.
What makes Alice special?
It presents an attractive offer for hoteliers who are often very busy and short on time. Being able to get everything right and respond quickly is vital for giving guests a good experience.