Top 5 Travel Startups of 2016

The hospitality industry is being disrupted by a growing number of startups that want to change and improve the industry. And in 2016, several startups have made it their mission to help hotels stay connected with their guests without upsetting the flow of everyday business. Check out the following five new startups below and take note of how these companies are shaping the hospitality industry.

1. HotelsByDay

Sometimes travelers find themselves in a pinch and need a place to stay for a few hours, or with short notice. Until recently, guests had to do without hotel accommodations or spend time negotiating with hotels on the phone. Since hotels often have trouble filling rooms due to last-minute cancellations or slow weeks, HotelsByDay saw an opportunity to help both hotel guests and hotels. HotelsByDay enables travelers to book hotel rooms during unconventional hours, usually during the day. Users gain instant access to a large database of available rooms via the company’s website and can search by country, city, and other criteria to narrow results and find a place to stay for a few hours. By monetizing open rooms during the day, hotels earn extra revenue while accommodating new last-minute guests.

2. Hotelcloud

Did you know that 86 percent of smartphone users’ time on their phone is spent on mobile apps, compared to only 14 percent on mobile websites (Flurry Analytics 2015)? Smartphone users love apps, which has been a huge driver in the increase of branded mobile apps within the hospitality industry.

Hotelcloud, a new startup in the hospitality industry, has positioned itself as a partner for hotel brands that want to build branded mobile apps. The company “builds e-concierge applications for businesses like hotels & apartments rentals that let their guests seamlessly discover and order internal services and trusted local activities partners from our +45,000 services marketplace.”

Hotelcloud personalizes the travel experience for hotel guests and offers thousands of activities and services to choose from.

After a hotel integrates their data, the hotel can choose other services already partnered with Hotelcloud to include within the app, such as transportation, food, and entertainment. Partnering with external services allows the hotel to earn commission. The app integrates with internal operation systems, so guests have access to everything the hotel has to offer. Creating awareness of these services helps improve and streamline guests’ experiences.

3. Direct 2 Guests

Stay continuously connected with your guests by providing them appropriate technology (and Wi-Fi) with Direct 2 Guests. Direct 2 Guests is a proprietary mobile app that gives guests access to all of a hotel’s services while they’re both inside and outside of the hotel. Direct 2 Guests also provides tablets for guests to use in their rooms, which display information such as dining options, activities, and weather.

By providing guests a tool that simplifies internal communication, hotels can eliminate the need for printed promotional materials. Direct 2 Guests encourages guests to explore hotel amenities, and gives property staff better insight into guests’ needs. By keeping tablets in the rooms, hotels don’t have to worry about download or adoption rates, and can ensure consistent customer service with features like push notifications and live chat. The app is also a great medium for sponsorship and other promotions, maximizing the hotel’s revenue potential.

4. Porter & Sail

Porter & Sails is a mobile concierge app that delivers advice and insights from local experts to help travelers and hotel guests find local activities, events, and restaurants. Users have access to personalized recommendations and destination guides when they stay at partner hotels. This helps prepare guests for travel by streamlining reservations, transportation requests like Uber, and booking processes.

Partnering with an app like Porter & Sail connects hotels with guests looking for a one-of-a-kind experience. Porter & Sail helps guests easily discover unique, local things to do and restaurants to try while putting its partner hotels front-and-center.

5. TipGenie

Founded in September 2015, TipGenie is a cashless tipping platform and offers “a more convenient, efficient, and transparent system of mobile payments.” TipGenie takes its ingenuity one step further by offering users a place to submit real-time feedback about their experience. The app targets millennials, who are outspending boomers in leisure activities and are spending more than three hours using smartphones per day. By scanning a QR code on an employee’s badge, guests have the ability to submit a tip with just a few taps.

TipGenie is perfect for hotels because it provides a secure and private method of collecting tips and guest feedback, highlighting service areas that need improvement and those that are performing well. Guest feedback is one of the best ways to identify and remedy service issues at hotels, and digitizing the process encourages higher response rates. Adopting a mobile tipping and feedback app ensures greater transparency, and clearer lines of communication between you, your staff, and your guests.

Whether you’re trying to attract new guests, streamlining guests’ experiences at your property, or searching for additional methods to collect guest feedback, these startups can help your property achieve its goals and maximize revenue in the process.

Hannah Burks

Written by Hannah Burks

Hannah lives in the world of content marketing for Cvent's Hospitality Cloud. She builds blogs, reports, eBooks, and more that bridge the gap between hotel professionals and modern event planners.