Donald W. Reynolds National Center For Business Journalism

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Travel and the sharing economy

April 30, 2015

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Ryan Seacrest is an investor in the travel sharing economy.

In a post here, I wrote about how U.S. cities are adapting — or not — to the sharing economy. The so-called ‘sharing economy’ poses a major challenge to the traditional travel business, according to Jason Clampet, co-founder of New York-based travel industry intelligence company Skift.

The basic idea is to use available resources more efficiently, whether this is accommodation, car transportation or other activities, according to the ITB World Travel Trends Report 2014/15.

“The sharing economy is absolutely disruptive and is changing how we use things. The impact on travel is huge,” Clampet declared in the report.

Have you ever parked your car at the airport for a few days and wished you didn’t have to pay the daily fees? San Francisco-based FlightCar takes that away by paying you to rent your car while you’re away. Owners drop off the car at 14 participating airports and will get free parking even if their car isn’t rented. And renters can get a car starting at $15 a day, including taxes, fees and insurance.

The company, founded by Rujul Zaparde and Kevin Petrovic when they were 19 and 20, respectively, raised $13.5 million in Series A financing in September 2014. Investors include Ashton Kutcher, Alexis Ohanian and Ryan Seacrest.

The Uber model takes to the skies with Norwell, Massachusetts-based Ubair, a new private jet booking app that allows flyers to instantly hail a jet at the tap of an app. Previously, travelers only had access to this type of service via jet cards or fractional aircraft programs.

The Ubair app lets travelers search for flights in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. Users can also compare prices between six categories of aircraft, including: piston aircraft such as the Cirrus SR20/22 (ubairTaxi); a mid-sized jet like the Learjet 55/50; and an intercontinental Gulfstream IV (ubairHeavy).

Users can select amenities such as gourmet catering, WiFi and the newest planes (ubairElite), with instant, paperless confirmation.

Co-founder and CEO Justin Sullivan has a long track record in private air charter who was previously president of Private FLITE and vice president at OneSky. Co-founder and executive director David Tait OBE helped write the business plan for Virgin Atlantic Airways and was the first person Sir Richard Branson hired when he started the London-based airline in 1984.

Finally, if you have ever torn your hair out trying to plan a vacation, Pune, India-based TripHobo can turn it into a quick, simple task. Users go to the TripHobo website and choose where and when they want to go.

They can then let TripHobo make suggestions on local attractions to visit or choose their own. Users can click on each attraction, where they can get information about days and times it’s open, the best times to visit, the address, transportation and travel tips.

RESOURCES

ITB World Travel Trends Report 2014/15

TripHobo

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