Beyond travel and stay booking services, many providers are now offering activities and adventures at the destination. With the penetration of internet and mobile services, people are now comfortable booking their flights and hotels online but they are still sceptical about booking local activities online, especially in Asia. For such bookings, people usually rely on offline providers, but when travelling with family or in groups, it might not be the best option. In that case, it is better if travellers make some bookings in advance. During our recent visit to Echelon Asia 2015, we came across some startups that are trying to solve this by offering reliable online options.
TakeMeTour has got a range of options for people travelling to Thailand. It has got a marketplace structure where local providers offer their services and travellers can use the platform to book with them. The confirmations and receipts are sent to the user over email. They claim to have trips hosted by 1940 local hosts and with such a large number, they are able to offer a wide range of experiences.
They have a neat website with easy navigation. You can simply select a destination from a list and browse through your options there. The listings are detailed with images and description to keep the visitor clear of doubts. There aren’t many options for some destinations but as it gains popularity, there will be more options for the travellers.
eOasia was started by a group of individuals who come with expertise in different fields but share the common passion for travel. In the initial days, the founders themselves experienced the activities before listing them on the website. Now they have expanded across multiple countries but their field team still hand picks the activities and personally meets the providers because they say that it is hard to judge the professionalism of a company from behind the desk. So unlike other similar platforms, you don’t get a dozen providers offering the same service or activity in a region but only the best ones out there. They have brought many providers online that were originally operating offline only so many of them are exclusive to eOasia.
Like we mentioned, these services primarily target people travelling with family or in groups and that is exactly where eOasia is focussing. At this moment, they are offering more than 2000 activities spread across 12 countries. They are working to expand in other counties in the region (India is also on the list) and that is why they accept payments in multiple currencies popular across the region. The website is really impressive with a simple search box and listing of top destinations. Finding an activity to book is really easy as there are multiple filters to find suitable activities from the large number of options.
Over the years, they have tried out different activities and explored different destinations and they use their learnings to serve some really interesting content on their blog (blog.eoasia.com). So not only are they helping people book activities but also giving them some inspiration for their next vacation.
Both these startups look quite promising and will surely help bring more activity providers online. eOasia has already got a big number of options for the travellers and they are constantly adding more. TakeMeTour is relatively younger and covers only Thailand for now but they are also building up their inventory at an impressive pace.
We wish them good luck in their journey ahead. For other updates from Echelon Summit, follow Echelon Asia 2015.