Tourism is one of Israel’s biggest industries, drawing millions of visitors and generating billions of dollars per year. But besides being a world-class travel destination, the Start-Up Nation is also a global leader in travel technology. Israel is home to over 300 startups in the travel sector, and also draws continued investment from international industry leaders like Booking.com, who opened a dedicated Tel Aviv R&D center in 2017.
The innovative travel technologies in development address a wide range of current industry challenges. Whether it’s enabling travelers to recoup non-refundable hotel fees, automatically finding the best prices, or connecting fellow travelers, Israeli startups are at the vanguard of travel technology.
Here are just a few of the promising travel tech startups calling Israel home:
- Founded in 2011, Roomer is an online marketplace that allows travelers to sell or swap hotel reservations. Every day, Roomer helps thousands of people recoup or exchange what would otherwise be non-refundable deposits or payments on their hotel rooms. On the other end of the marketplace are flexible and budget-conscious travelers looking for good deals on accommodations. By connecting these two previously isolated groups, Roomer has created a powerful tool for capturing a great deal of lost value and making travel better for all parties involved.
- Pruvo was founded in 2016 with a simple mission: help travelers get the best price on hotel rooms possible. The result of that idea is an equally elegant solution. Pruvo lets customers forward their reservation by email, then automatically checks for and rebooks whenever that same room drops to a lower price. Because the technology is the one scanning and interfacing with the booking systems, Pruvo customers can book from any website and don’t even need to provide their credit card up front. In addition to the core product, Pruvo also offers a browser extension that lets customers keep up-to-the-minute tabs on any shifts in room price. Though straightforward in principal, the true key to Pruvo’s success is the brilliant engineering that ensures a seamless, functional experience from start to finish.
- Co-founded by two brothers, Meeba is the social application for travelers, and came about as a direct result of their personal experiences. When travelling, they spent a great deal of time looking for other travelers to go on treks with, hang out or even split a cab. While there were plenty of tools to plan travel and lodging, they noticed a major gap in the social aspect of travelling. Meeba addresses these issues by offering travelers a way to connect and coordinate with anyone and in real-time. The application scans your surroundings for nearby travelers on the app, and then provides integration to join one another either while traveling, dining out or planning activities. In the process, each traveler who contributes to the platform helps improve it for everyone else.
The world is growing more connected than ever, and as it does, travel will play an increasingly crucial part in fueling the world economy and culture. Lying at a global crossroads, both in terms of geography and information, Israel is uniquely poised to spearhead vital innovations for tourists and travelers. Not only does Israel host millions of tourists each year, the Start-Up Nation empowers countless millions more around the globe to make the most of their travel experience.
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