The world is waking up to new technology that is making our lives easier by the day. The travel market is not only vast but has massive opportunities for innovation and disruption. Emerging innovations such as AI, blockchain, augmented and virtual reality is being incorporated into travel startups to ensure a seamless customer experience. But who are the companies to watch in 2019? Below, we’ve outlined our favourite Startups that are shaking up the travel industry.
Withlocals is a marketplace startup that caters for anyone looking for a personalised travel experience. It gives travellers the opportunity to connect with local guides and to explore tailor-made tours in the area of their choice with a bona fide local to show them the spots that most tourists will miss out on. Withlocals appeals to travellers who are looking for experiences built around their personalities and personal interests. It takes inspiration from Airbnb Experiences and currently has over 10,000 people offering services on their site in over 22 countries.
GetYourGuide is a travel startup that offers tourists the opportunity to book a variety of activities and tours in different countries. Covering over 7,300 destinations, you can pick from more than 31,000 tours and activities. Based in Berlin, Germany the emphasis behind this startup is to provide an on the go guide to numerous destinations. It is ideal for backpackers and those who are looking to travel a variety of locations at once.
Timeshifter is ideal for frequent travellers, the aim of this app is its promise to cure jetlag. It will advise you on how to adjust your body clock whilst you travel through different time zones. It will give you helpful advice, like encouraging you to stay awake or to avoid caffeine. It caters to a variety of traveller types from athletes to business travellers or backpackers. One of the added benefits is that this app works offline and can be used whilst flying, making each task realistic and doable.
AirBuy is a startup that creates a personalised shopping experience for travellers looking for duty-free purchases. The consumer creates a profile and travel itinerary, which AirBuy will use to curate product recommendations. The consumer can easily purchase these items whilst on holiday and can seamlessly collect their items at the airport before departure, or upon arrival. It opens up the availability of duty-free items for travellers, regardless of their location.
HeyCars is a global airport transfer booking app that operates in over 50 countries. It is simple to use – all you need to do is put in your pickup and drop-off location, passenger details and pick what car they’d like to arrive in. Each booking comes with a driver who will greet them at the airport and 24/7 customer service support and free cancellation 48 hours before their journey.
MyCash Online was founded in 2016 by Bangladeshi migrants offering online financial services to migrant workers who do not have access to banking. The closed-loop e-wallet allows migrants to top up their prepaid phones, pay bills and buy and send gift vouchers to friends and family back home. You can also purchase bus tickets to and from Malaysia within the app as well as discounted flights from 17 airlines.
MyBaggage is a courier service founded in 2009. This startup is ideal for expats, students and travellers alike, who are looking to ship luggage direct to their destination and bypass costly airline luggage fees. Each booking comes with a tracking service and they have customer services on hand to help with any queries 7 days a week. With over 40,000 routes and shipping to over 200 countries, there are plenty of options for you, wherever the road may take you.
Qiantech is an emerging travel startup from China that uses augmented reality for touring. They aim to provide an interactive and immerse experience for tourists, through a host of tourist attractions, travel agencies and smart cities. They created an AR calendar for the Beijing Palace Museum. When scanned with your smartphone, users can experience the museum’s masterpiece on a different level than any other tourist. What’s more, you can also enjoy AR-enabled souvenirs that compliment the AR-guided tours.