The global tourism economy and any businesses associated with it took a huge hit in 2020. In Hawaii, hundreds of them shut down, and those that survived did so at great cost and sacrifice.
Now, with vaccination rates rising, the Hawaii tourist economy has roared back to life, nearing the record numbers seen two years ago. The crush of visitors has many questioning the sustainability of the current system, but it also brings some good news: local tourism-centric businesses like Shaka Guide, Activiter, and TurnoverBnB — all alumni of the Hawaii-based technology accelerator Blue Startups — have seen extreme growth since the start of the year.
After a dismal 2020 and having to furlough most of its team, Shaka Guide went from 0-100mph starting in April. Offering over 20 audio tours encompassing our culture’s art of storytelling, Shaka Guide covers Maui, Kauai, Oahu, and the Big Island. Since it functions as a self-guided tour, this service is primed for a post-covid world in which people are still very hesitant to participate in group activities.
According to Co-Founder Andrew Fowers, Shaka Guide has been able to double its pre-covid revenue as well as its internal staff and beat its recovery forecasting by 6 months. For more information on their open positions, please check out their indeed page.
Activiter, a real-time digital inventory marketplace for tours and activities here in Hawai’i, found itself at zero customers all 2020. As March of 2021 rolled around, forecasts for tourism looked promising and Expedia pulled its activity desks from Hawaii hotels. Filling the gap left by Expedia, Activiter signed a pivotal deal allowing them to 10x their distribution.
Originating as a golf-specific platform, Activiter expanded to a wide range of vacation activities. Their turnkey technology platform enables companies to sell tours and activities to their existing customer base under their own brand.
As a tech platform that streamlines the scheduling, paying, and finding vacation rental cleaners and cleaning services for Airbnbs across the globe, business started picking up for TurnoverBnB in February. While Europe is proving to have a slower rebound, the reopening of the United States and other English speaking countries has caused business to grow exponentially. As we exit the pandemic, TurnoverBnB has made sure to provide extensive resources and heightened protocols to their cleaning vendors.
Marketing Director, Nicolette Masiya, says they are expanding internally as they look to fill multiple roles in their marketing department. They are specifically looking for an in-house content marketer to work out of their Honolulu office. If you are qualified and interested in this position, please email Nicolette at email@example.com.
Chenoa Farnsworth is the managing director of Blue Startups, Hawaii’s only venture accelerator. She has been helping startup entrepreneurs to grow their companies for the past 15 years.