Here at sherpa° our mission is to help travellers move freely around the world and shift the way the world's leading travel providers approach border crossings. We do this as part of a large global travel and tourism ecosystem. Our industry is vibrant, dynamic and innovative and it’s experiencing growth and change like never before.
That’s why we decided to compile some staff picks on the most exciting and innovative travel technologies to try this year. Work remotely, access affordable mobile data, or get through airport security quicker—these platforms and apps leverage the power of technology to make all kinds of trips easier and more enjoyable.
1. CLEAR Health Pass
Suggested by Mohammad Owlia, Engineering Manager
“I find initiatives that organize digital health records patchy, confusing and only with a short-term future in mind. But I love CLEAR Health Pass for the seamless user experience. It acts as a wallet for health credentials and allows for identity verification on mobile devices.
Travelers can easily share vaccination records or negative COVID-19 tests when boarding a plane or entering a stadium. Long wait times are not going to be tolerable for future travelers, particularly as they have grown used to not spending time commuting every day because of COVID-19 and stay-at-home orders. This would mean that many will be open to paying for CLEAR if it means their travel experience would be more pleasant.”
2. Priceline’s Pricebreakers
Suggested by Andie He, Product Designer
“When I research hotels, I’m scouring for three things: price, quality and location. Like most people, I like to get the best bang for my buck. I sometimes go the extra mile comparing properties to make sure I’m getting the best option. But I prefer having the legwork done for me.
Priceline’s Pricebreakers shows travelers three top-rated hotels, algorithmically grouped together, for one discounted price. Travelers are guaranteed to secure a room at one of those three properties, at the featured price. The winning hotel is revealed right after purchase.”
3. Remote Year
Suggested by Mary Githumbi, Analytics Lead, Partner Insights
“I was doing some industry research on the future of work when I came across Remote Year, a travel company that runs remote work experiences in anything from 1-month, up to 8-month journeys. Remote Year’s travel and work programs provide dedicated workspaces that are centrally located, with reliable internet and 24/7 access, in addition to accommodation. These services give remote workers peace of mind in knowing that most of their logistical concerns of living and working in a host city or country are addressed.
The most impressive part of Remote Year, however, is the company’s true commitment to DEI initiatives. They've even partnered with Venture Noire, a non-profit that improves Black and minority communities through economic development, to coordinate a cultural immersion program in South Africa.”
4. Indie Travel
Suggested by Max Tremaine, Co-founder and CEO
“I’ve noticed that tour operators are super passionate about organizing amazing experiences, but one of their big challenges is effective distribution. The premise of Indie Travel is simple: “You run the tours, we figure out the marketing and sales.”
The platform provides features that can schedule and manage tour bookings, integrate sales channels, and use analytics to maximize sales. But I think the ultimate success of Indie relies on the fact that the company is just as enthusiastic about sales and marketing—and specifically for this space—as tour operators are about their excursions.”
5. Scandinavian Standard
Suggested by Katherine Walkiewicz, Compliance Lead
“Now more than ever, travelers are seeking authentic experiences. But they can be hard to find. Scandinavian Standard curates city guides and insider tips to Copenhagen, Stockholm, Oslo, Reykjavik, and Helsinki, saving travelers precious time from having to research places to stay, restaurants to try, and things to do.
The app offers a wealth of insight and knowledge about local events that might not be known unless you have a personal connection in that city. And I believe it’s popular among the locals too, which tells you about the quality of the tips they provide.”
Suggested by Alex Gogan, VP Engineering
“When I travel for work, I’m lost without maps and ways to connect – posting on social media, messaging on Slack, sending emails. All of these activities require access to mobile data, which is a huge pain point when traveling abroad. That’s why I find Airalo essential.
Airalo is like an eSIM store where travelers can purchase and activate digital SIM cards for more than 190 countries worldwide. It provides instant connectivity and cuts down on exorbitant roaming fees. Having an affordable way to sign up for an eSIM and using data like a local is tremendous. I predict that sometime soon they’ll swap out providers on a daily or hourly basis depending on usage and real-time fees.”
Suggested by Dominic Agostini, Partner Manager
“COVID-19 has created a new class of digital nomads, creators, and entrepreneurs that can work from anywhere. Packaging accommodations with co-working spaces, recreation, wellness and local experiences, Selina caterers exactly to these people.
A colleague introduced me to Selina this year and the business really intrigued me. As more companies and individuals adopt remote work, I believe it will empower people to pursue their travel goals while providing the resources they may need to work remotely, and comfortably.”