• News
  • People
  • Long Read
  • Opinion
  • Weekend Wrap

Five from Finland

Digital travel innovations

These services will make you reconsider travel experiences of the future.Julia Bushueva

These five Finnish travel-related solutions will make your trip fly by with their digital approach to seeing the world – and beyond.

As digitalisation has left no aspect of our everyday life untouched, it too has revolutionised the travel industry, connecting people and places faster than ever before. In only a few years, brick-and-mortar travel agencies have become almost obsolete, thanks to the ease of booking tickets electronically with a few taps of a finger.

Meanwhile, the Finnish travel industry experienced record growth last year, with foreign tourists making 8.3 million trips to Finland. It’s no surprise then, given our tech roots, that there is much on offer here to those who savour digital travel services.

This week, Visit Finland organised a seminar about the future prospects of the tourism industry and digital travel innovations.

“Nowadays 87 per cent of people decide their travel destination online,” says Sandro Cuzzolin, global clients and strategy director from travel audience, a data-driven travel advertising platform. “They get inspired and make their decision on the Internet.”

So, want to discover more about Finnish digital innovators whose products facilitate smoother travel both here and abroad? We already gathered together a quintet last year.

Now here are five more!

Targeted at travellers (and locals, too), this company offers a digital platform for selling and buying experiences. The goal is to let people share their passion(s) – be it for writing music, birdwatching or cooking with refugees – with others.

In the long run, the plan is to offer Doerz as a comprehensive service.

“The vision is that my phone would be able to suggest things and activities to me based on where I’m going, what I’ve been interested in previously and when I’ve got spare time in my calendar,” CEO Tomi Virtanentold us last year. “Instead of a passive marketplace, Doerz can become a proactive service.”

Searching for an opulent holiday home abroad? How about a service combining a simple booking platform and a door-to-door travel agency, then? With its growing number of customers and expansion plans to Sweden, Villada is in a good place when it comes to finding villa owners and partners.

“In practice, whenever we suggest collaboration, we don’t tend to hear anyone say no,” CEO Tommi Lehtonen explained last April.

Founded in 2011, these Oulu-based innovators immediately set out to specialise in mobile international connectivity. The first offering on the market was Goodspeed Mobile Hotspot, a device which enables travellers to access high-speed and secure connections at a much lower cost than traditional roaming.

Business is booming, with Asia playing a central role in the company’s expansion.

“We are also seeing strong interest and demand from the African continent,” president Jerry Raatikainen explained last year. “The high and sometimes complex roaming charges within the region can prohibit corporate travellers from using data services while travelling. In addition, we will focus on the Middle East, Caribbean and the Americas.”

The idea behind this startup is simple: whenever airport security staff remove an item from a passenger, they place a sticker with an identification code on the item and present the passenger with a receipt for the surrendered item. A similar receipt will be used to replace any items removed from checked baggage.

The passenger can then use the identification code to reclaim the item through the online service of Cotio, which delivers it directly to the passenger or to a smart post terminal at the airport.

“We make it as easy and fast as possible for the airport staff,” founder and chief executive Kimmo Collander stated in our feature article. “The item is marked; the customer gets the receipt and can order delivery of the item at their own convenience.”

Why limit your travel plans to this planet? Last year, Space Nation teamed up with NASA to develop a free global astronaut experience programme complete with an app, to make the universal dream of space travel more accessible and relevant to everyone on Earth.

“Space Nation’s collaboration with NASA means that space is no longer a distant dream,” said company CEO Kalle Vähä-Jaakkola. “We’re enabling millions of people, anyone with a smartphone in fact, to enhance their daily lives through experiencing what it means to prepare for space travel.”

By: James O’Sullivan