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 usable while you’re on the road. This new “thingy” was just released 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 TheHighFlyer.club 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 – Hotels.com, 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 – WhatsApp, 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.
By Ross Atkinson