As online travel space continues to grow, an increasing number of startups are emerging in markets that offer new opportunities. Almost all the major markets have got local and global travel booking giants fighting for their piece of the pie on the top and young startups squeeze in the room left by the biggies. You can’t expect the bigger players to do it all. Neither can they afford to experiment with their models easily.
Startups on the other hand are often quick to pick on trends, or even initiate them at times with their understanding of the challenges in local market. During our recent conversation with Valentin Dombrovsky, Founder, Travelabs, he shared that despite the undulations in the Russian online travel market, there are niches to be found in the market offering plenty of opportunities for the startups.
Packages still hold relevance in many markets including Russia. While the travellers love the convenience, added flexibility is certainly better. IQPlannner is one of the startups pitching at the upcoming Travel Tech Conference Russia and is building upon this behaviour while adding more value to the ecosystem. It offers a catalogue of user-generated pre-packs called Adventures. Adventures feature rich media components similar to travel blogs and they are coupled with detailed booking ready trip structure. While the challenge with many such platforms is to generate the content and that is where IQPlanner shines. The Adventures come from avid travellers, who otherwise face challenge monetizing their content. Here they share the commissions with IQPlanner for the bookings which provides high quality listings, cross promotion opportunities and original content.
Another interesting approach to simplify the experience of traveller is seen in another participating startup Timescenery. There are plenty of platforms to book, multiple tools to manage the bookings and a sea of inspirational blogs to plan the finer details. Timescenery offers a middle ground by acting as a digital assistant for travel and day-to-day plans. You can find unique places and experiences, get everything in one place including flights and hotels, plan routes and book everything in one place. These experiences can be saved, shared with friends and family and can also be used by others as an inspiration for their own trip.
It is important to understand the patterns and feel the pulse of the market. Thanks to WhatsApp, Facebook and WeChat, young travellers are typing into their phones for everything. Another participating startup Travel Lisa taps into this behaviour by offering travel recommendation on FB messenger with a chat bot just like one would ask their friends for ideas. Developed by a team carrying experience in deep learning, machine learning and data science, the FB Messenger bot can also recognise the photos of landmarks.
Tapping in the massive opportunity that sharing economy offers, MeetnGreetMe connects international travellers to personal concierge service delivered by locals. The platform targets international travellers as in a different country, the travellers might not be familiar with the culture and standard practices. The hosts can select the services they can offer and set their price. This allows the traveller to get assistance at good prices while making money for the MeetnGreeters.
The fifth startup that will be pitching during the Travel Tech Conference Russia is JetHunter. It creates software solution for private aviation professionals. It offers JetHunter CRM for charter operators and JetHunter White Label for brokers. JetHunter CRM allows operators to get requests from all the channels in one place, track utilisation, manage booking requests and make the process efficient while the solution for brokers helps them acquire more customers through their website, process enquiries faster and reduce the load of sales department.
These five startups will be presenting during the event on October 27. The winner will be selected by a jury and will receive prizes from conference partners that include Travel Startups Incubator, 33entrepreneurs and iDealMachine. You can find more details on the prizes here. The event is also supported by Travel Audience, MegaFon and Intourist.
More details on the event and registration options can be found on the event website. To allow for more industry professionals to gain from the event, it will also be broadcasted live. You can register to watch the live broadcast.