The travel world is not without its share of brilliant, almost crazy, sometimes downright hilarious, business concepts – just to satisfy an ever complex traveller. The web happens to be that one medium to drive and deliver the limitless possibilities for innovation that exist to shape the next generation of travel business.
This week, I stumbled upon 4 particularly interesting models I just thought were downright amazing. All, western and targeted to the travel and hospitality industry, I could not help imagining how interesting they could be if replicated here in Kenya. Here they are.
Ushuaïa Ibiza Beach Hotel in Spain is piloting a solution that allows guests to pay for all the services they get at the hotel using just their fingertips and in real time.
Thanks to a partnership Ushuaïa has entered into with PayTouch, guests at the hotel can access virtually everything without needing to have cash. PayTouch is an innovative system that lets you pay securely for everything with your fingerprints.
All that guests need to do is register themselves in the system on arrival at the hotel. The registration involves providing their card details along with biometric data of their right index and middle fingers.
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, registering with PayTouch does not cost you an extra coin! Anyone interested?
Now this new concept from Eastern Europe makes receiving otherwise expensive items from abroad as easy as 1, 2 and 3. PleaseBringMe.com is 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. PleaseBringMe.com 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 2 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. Does that give you ideas?
The concept at Rambler was just a novelty in my opinion. All Rambler does is offer a platform where potential travellers are presented with a challenge which they need 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 so that other users looking for something similarly exciting and challenging to do, far away from the traditional checklists, can benefit.
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.
I hope this last idea from the Czech Republic will just blow your mind away as it did me. Calling itself 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 3 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 on how you are faring on with the implementation process. Soon I hope!
As for me, I shall be back on the research trail as I explore more out-of-the-box-type of ideas just for your reading and activation pleasure. If you have some more ideas, feel free to share.