As part of Travel + Leisure's new technology and innovations vertical, The Grid, we're rolling out a video series all about the ideas, products, and people shaping the future of travel. First up: a senior editor at Fortune on the exciting things happening in travel entrepreneurship.
In many ways, the travel business is ripe fruit for coders and entrepreneurs. According to Christopher Tkaczyk, a senior editor at Fortune magazine, app-makers are continually developing tech to soothe some of the industry's biggest headaches. After all, with just a few taps on a smartphone, travelers can now switch their seats on a flight, renew their passports, or identify geographical features outsides their plane windows.
Tkaczyk points out that there are near-endless opportunities for young creators and thinkers to develop niche services.
An example he mentions—it's one of our favorites, too—is Seateroo, an app that allows airplane passengers to bid for a better seat. Desperate for an aisle seat, or just want to put a little more space between you and the lavatory? Just download the free app, and see who on your flight is willing to trade his or her throne for a bit of extra cash. Rates could be as low as $5.
As Tkaczyk explains, entrepreneurs entering the industry largely focus on the problems of some subset of travelers. Huge companies, he notes, place all their chips on broad programs with wide appeal. Folks starting small businesses, meanwhile, can address the problems of smaller audiences—like dog owners looking to map out pet-friendly hotels in advance of a road trip, or well-heeled business travelers who never want to pack their own carry-on again.
“If you’ve identified an area where there’s a need,” says Tkaczyk, “there’s your business opportunity.”
Check out the full video, above.