Crowdsourcing the Travel Experience
Several new startups are revamping the way people move, providing increased mobility and unique travel experiences to those that may not have been able to access or afford it previously. With a click in an app, customers are able to secure a ride across town or accommodations in a far off vacation destination. Many people find their leisure activities stinted by high costs and, as a result, are unable to enjoy their free time the way they desire. Crowdsourcing is opening a new avenue for people to journey across the country and the world on their own terms. Two innovators in this industry are the app-based startups Uber and Airbnb. Both are successfully at connecting customers to service providers that cater to their specific travel needs. Related: – Is Crowdsourcing the Result of Cloud Computation? – Crowdsourcing for Disasters This form of service puts all the customization power of the product or service in the hands of the consumer. The service providers display all of the availability and features of their service through the app and consumers can choose based on what works best for them. In addition to being more cost effective than traditional options, these business models provide travelers with a distinctive experience each time they travel. In the cases of Uber and Airbnb, customers can consider the details and reviews listed for each driver or host and choose a provider that seems most complementary to themselves. Both present unique opportunities to break from mainstream tourism and the gimmicks that often follow suit and experience an area from a local’s perspective. Furthermore, while traveling with such spontaneity in the past might have generated concern over the safety of customers, the companies’ background and qualifications examination of potential agents prior to offering service coupled with previous customers’ reviews and recommendations provides reassurance and security to the doubtful traveler. The ease and speed of access to spontaneous bookings for ride sharing also makes it possible for people to utilize their cars less or not at all when getting around their own city of residence. This has a wide array of potential beneficial impacts on a city, including fewer single person commuting vehicles and more people utilizing safe alternatives to driving when having a night out. Airbnb’s vast selection of accommodations in nearly any city makes the joy of a vacation accessible to a wider audience with a broader range of finances available to spend on leisure. With shared rooms or entire homes available to rent for a night, a weekend, or multiple weeks, a “staycation” becomes a more reasonable and realistic alternative to an extensive vacation that would require more saving and travel time while still supplying feelings of pleasure derived from taking a break from the typical day-to-day routine. What does this mean for the future of the travel industry? If current customers’ acceptance of the business model is indicative of forthcoming developments, the process of finding and booking your travel plans may become more democratized as the consumer’s preferences continue to set the tone for what goods and services are offered and how they are presented. The app-driven market provides last minute, reliable, and on-demand choices for the consumers that value the speed at which their needs are met. Additionally, in a trip where you can deviate off the beaten path and experience a new part of the world like the locals do, these services provide the ultimate “When in Rome” experience or can illustrate a new perspective on a familiar place. Overall, this new direction has the potential to make traveling accessible to a wider variety of demographics, to enrich the quality of travel experiences in general, and to make occasions for leisure more available to those that did not travel often previously.