The travel world is not without its share of brilliant, almost crazy, downright hilarious business concepts all geared towards satisfying an ever complex traveller and the web just happens to be that one medium to drive the limitless possibilities for innovation that exist to shape the next generation of travel business.
This week, as I went about doing my usual Internet research for inspiration on my next techie travel idea, I stumbled upon four amazing business models targeting the travel and hospitality industry and wondered how awesome it would be if we explored ways of replicating them in Africa and most certainly here in Kenya.
My first stop was at the Ushuaïa Ibiza Beach Hotel in Spain where guests are now paying in real time for all the services they get at the hotel with their fingertips.
Thanks to a partnership Ushuaïa has entered into with PayTouch (https://www.pay-touch.com/en/home), an innovative system that lets you pay securely for everything with your fingerprints, guests who have registered with the system on arrival at the hotel (which means they have given their card details along with the biometric data of their right index and middle fingers), now get to enjoy all services at the hotel without needing to carry cash around with them.
The hotel is dotted with fingerprint recognition devices, where guests only need to press their fingers against the readers to pay for a service or product. Each registration also comes with an account that allows users to track transactions online.
As if the level of safety and convenience that comes with this facility is not enough, the hotel goes ahead to reward guests taking up the scheme with discounts, prizes and access to reserved areas among other exciting benefits and promotions. According to their website, to register with PayTouch does not cost you an extra coin!
But now this new concept from Eastern Europe makes receiving otherwise expensive items from abroad as easy as 1, 2 and 3. PleaseBringMe.com (www.PleaseBringMe.com), a Turkey-based site that offers a way for locals to place requests for items they would need brought out from abroad by travellers planning on visiting their country, may just end up redefining the whole import-export business while adding a touch of carbon emissions savings as travel trips double up as courier journeys.
PleaseBringMe.com has a simple layout with two options to click on depending on whether you are the bringer or the receiver. Travellers heading abroad can fill in a form explaining where they are travelling from and to, the dates of their trip, and what they will be willing to bring with them. Locals wanting an item from elsewhere can pick their location and requested object, as well as what they are willing to offer in return.
This can range from cash or barter trade with items of similar value or as a gift without expectation of any payment in return. Each post is then advertised on the site in a similar fashion to a bulletin board.
The concept at Rambler (www.RamblerHQ.com) was just a novelty in my opinion. All Rambler does is offer a platform where potential travellers are presented with a challenge they needs to attempt once they arrive at their destination of travel.
This is what they are calling at Rambler, a ‘scavenger hunt’ where users post tasks based on travel experiences they have had themselves for other users looking for something exciting and challenging to do far away from the traditional check-lists while on safari.
This may range, in our case, from ‘scaling Lenana peak on Mount Kenya’ to ‘offering community service to a children’s home in one of our many slums’ and the like. Users then pick the tasks they want to accomplish and get rewarded with points for completing the ‘hunt’.
Users who garner the most points get their name etched onto the Rambler Leaderboard for others to try and beat which introduces a whole new competitive edge to travelling.
Now, I hope this last idea from the Czech Republic will just blow your mind away as it did me. Calling itself CorruptTour.com (www.CorruptTour.com), the site offers sightseeing packages around sites of political corruption in Prague. Is your mind reeling with thousands of local ideas already?
The company caters for those wanting to know more about all the corrupt dealings that have ever gone down in the Czech government. Guys at CorruptTour.com say it is a unique proposition in the tourist world, providing access to some of the “leading practitioners of corruption” operating today.
Tours last for an average of three hours and souvenirs are available at the end of the trip. What a powerful way to raise awareness about corruption in a country while still making money from it!
Surely, this last one should be easy enough to set up here in Kenya where the diversity and richness of content is inexhaustible. Let me hear from you how you are faring on with the implementation process. Soon I hope! As for me, I shall be back on the research rail as I scour for more out-of-the-box-type of ideas just for your reading and activation pleasure.
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