This week's startup roundup covers apps and services that aid travelers before and during a journey, but also includes operational tools for travel companies that are working to engage with travelers online and meet them where they are, which is more often than not, on their mobile device.
Dcovery fancies itself the "Evernote for travel" allowing users to archive clips of content from the web to create customized destination guides and comes preloaded with guides curated by media personalities. The app is also able to translate addresses into local languages for easies taxi travel. SkiftTake: Travelers will be attracted to the app's beautiful design and "Evernote" functionality, but its $3.99 price tag could discourage some leisure travelers from testing it out, especially since the Evernote for everything is free.
Splash is a localized content stream that allows users to follow topics rather than specific people. The content is based on users' location to show relevant and actionable information. SkiftTake: Splash is just one of several apps that are tapping into the proliferation of public status updates from companies and individuals to give travelers and locals a better idea of what's going on around them.
Drive is an app aimed at making an iPhone easier and safer to use while driving. The screen displays only key functionalities and takes just a few taps to access the features. SkiftTake: The trouble with all driving apps is that it means drivers are still using phones and steering wheels at the same time -- a dangerous combination no matter how many swipes it takes to turn on music.
Silvercar has created a rental car service tailored to the needs of well-traveled tech-savvy business travelers. A mobile app is used to reserve and unlock a silver Audis A4 and will go live at its first airport, Dallas-Fort Worth, in January 2013. SkiftTake: The decision to create a rental car company with one vehicle option shows just how niche a startup aims to be, but it will likely have more trouble expanding to other airports than building up its user base.
Pinster is a Pinterest scheduling and monitoring tool for companies or professionals that use Pinterest as a marketing platform. The site uses Google Analytics to measure interactions and website referrals to help companies better understand their ROI from Pinterest. SkiftTake: Travel companies are particularly reliant on Pinterest as a marketing tool, but popular monitoring tools like Hootsuite lack Pinterest capabilites making Pinster a possible lifesaver for social media managers in the travel industry.
WalletKit is a platform that helps companies build well-designed mobile passes without technical know-how and deliver the passes to customers via an app, email or link. It's also a management tool that allows companies to track how many people clicked, opened and downloaded the passes. SkiftTake: Airlines quickly recognized the advantage of mobile passes, but soon all businesses from event venues to restaurants will look to create the passes for a growing population of mobile-reliant travelers.
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