World Wise

So many tech-re­lated travel star­tups

Business Traveler (USA) - - INSIDE - By Ross Atkin­son

Easy­thingy for TheHighF­ly­ers – So many tech-re­lated travel star­tups

No, that ti­tle is not a mis­take. Last month we fea­tured an ar­ti­cle that was a per­sonal fa­vorite of mine. It was on crowd­fund­ing and fol­low-on suc­cess of a com­pany called Pri­or­ity Bi­cy­cles ( Kicked into High Gear, Septem­ber 2016). The com­pany rein­vented the tra­di­tional bi­cy­cle to be rust- and main­te­nance-free, as well as easy to ride. And while they were build­ing a non-tra­di­tional bike, they were start­ing a com­pany us­ing non-tra­di­tional means. With the story’s an­gle on pro­vid­ing bikes to ho­tels for guests to use dur­ing their trav­els, I was in­trigued to ex­plore more startup com­pa­nies that touch our trav­els and our ex­pe­ri­ences. My first find was Easy­thingy and, yes, at first glance I too thought it was a spell­ing er­ror. In fact, aside from tick­ling my“hu­mor­ous,” there ap­peared to be some­thing worth­while in the com­pany’s prod­uct; it ac­tu­ally turns your e-mails with travel-re­lated con­tent into your per­sonal all-in-one travel app, mak­ing that con­tent u us­able while you’re on the road. This new“thingy”was just re­leased th this month at the TechCrunch Dis­rupt Startup Al­ley. E-mail may not be dead, but search­ing through them to find travel de­tails is deadly! I thought the name TheHighF­ was an or­ga­ni­za­tion for peo­ple who travel often, but I was sorely mis­taken: It’s not about how often you fly. But it is none­the­less an in­ter­est­ing con­cept, more about com­mu­ni­cat­ing and in­ter­act­ing with oth­ers on your flight. One spe­cific fea­ture I would prob­a­bly use is its abil­ity to let you see in­ter­est­ing things on the ground as you are pass­ing over­head. It re­minds me of the “Delta Glass Bot­tom Jet”app for the iPad a few years ago. The app con­nected you to scenery and land­marks, pho­tos and even friends in that area as you were pass­ing over at 35,000 feet.

Sur­rounded by Apps Two new apps hardly con­sti­tutes an avalanche of star­tups in the travel space. So I had to look be­yond just the fun names of the new com­pa­nies, and cast a wider net across the en­tire cat­e­gory. Think­ing broader, I turned to the iTunes store to help me sort it down a bit fur­ther. What are the apps peo­ple re­ally use?

You see, I was hop­ing for a“Top 10 New”list of travel apps. But I dis­cov­ered that travel apps are quite pop­u­lar and the list for the travel cat­e­gory had 240 of the most sought af­ter ones. That’s still a big num­ber, but it gives a good per­spec­tive. What I did find is that most of these new com­pa­nies or apps are fo­cused on a spe­cific area of our jour­ney.

Here are some ex­am­ples across our travel ex­pe­ri­ence: Plan­ning and book­ing - Ho­, XE Cur­rency Itin­er­ary, time, and per­sonal man­age­ment -LoungBuddy, World­mate Nav­i­ga­tion - Waze, Map­way apps for trains Ex­pe­ri­en­tial - Ve­loc­ity, Chefs Feed, Des­ti­na­tion - Foodspot­ting, Wi-Fi Finder Com­mu­ni­ca­tion - What's App, Swear­port, Mes­sen­ger

And in keep­ing with the spirit of my orig­i­nal thought, there are plenty of other “thingy’s” in the mix.

Back to the sub­ject of star­tups; it would be a bit of hy­per­bole to say that the num­ber of new travel-re­lated star­tups is count­less. It was, how­ever, a dif­fi­cult num­ber to as­cer­tain, so I share this to give it some per­spec­tive.

Ac­cord­ing to statistca, as of June 2016 there were 4.2 mil­lion apps in just the Google Play and Ap­ple App store, with Google Play in the lead. Ap­ple alone is tak­ing 1000 new ap­pli­ca­tions for apps ev­ery day. Even if only 1 per­cent of these are re­lated to travel, that would add up to a very large num­ber of ex­ist­ing and new travel re­lated com­pa­nies look­ing to win over to­day’s fre­quent fly­ers.

Although putting num­ber on the new star­tups dif­fi­cult, con­nect­ing to this com­mu­nity is ac­tu­ally quite easy. I use sev­eral chan­nels worth shar­ing. One group, with chap­ters of travel in­sid­ers in hun­dreds of lo­ca­tions around the world, often hosts a ca­sual monthly meetup invit­ing vis­i­tors from other chap­ters. An­other startup called Star­tup­trav­els is worth a glance. Aside from be­ing very fit­ting for our topic, it ties di­rectly to LinkedIn and will con­nect you with like-minded en­trepreneurs and startup en­thu­si­asts in over 160 coun­tries.

Next time you travel, try one of these“thingy’s”to con­nect with some­one in an­other part of the world.

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