TMCnet Feature
September 29, 2021

Bonder: A New Type of Concierge Service

In 2019, the travel and tourism industry in the United States alone was valued at more than $1 trillion USD annually. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March of 2020, however, the US travel industry declined by nearly 50% in that same year to some $679 billion. Of this economic downturn, domestic and international travel in the US dropped by some 34% and 76% respectively, with business-related travel alone declining by roughly 70% in 2020 over the year prior.

To further add to this, statistics from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) released in their annual 2020 economic impact report show that the COVID-19 pandemic directly correlated with massive financial losses to the global tourism and travel industry, with nearly $4.5 trillion USD in loses reported in 2020 over 2019. While both domestic and international data reports state that the travel industry is beginning to slowly recover from the economic impact resulting from the pandemic—due in part to both increased vaccination rates and relaxed restrictions for travelers—many of these travelers will begin to find that an increasing portion of the services, amenities, events and even destinations they were able to expect as regular offerings in past years are either no longer available or severely limited as global societies continue to recover from the pandemic’s fallout.

As a result, an increasing number of travelers are likely to turn to the myriad of digital apps and platforms that offer services that can be utilized in lieu of more traditional concierge services, such as travel arrangements, vehicle rentals, reservations for lodging and food, and information research on their planned destinations. One such platform travelers could utilize for these services is Bonder, the first location-based communication platform (LBCP) of its kind.

Not your typical concierge service

Founded by serial entrepreneur and seasoned executive strategist Scott Swanson, Bonder’s placement as an LBCP allows users of the platform to easily and quickly connect with like-minded individuals in their local community. Having launched only in February of 2021, Swanson’s original vision for the LBCP was to bridge connections between like-minded individuals looking to grow their personal and professional networks within their communities. For travelers looking to explore destinations they are not local to, however, Swanson’s app provides a unique opportunity to connect with locals in the communities of those destinations, positioning Bonder as a potential all-encompassing replacement for more traditional travel and concierge services.

“There are so many social apps,” said Swanson in a press release this past February following the initial release of Bonder. “What evolves us beyond them? Our approach [with Bonder] is different. [Our] mentality is to provide tools that centralize the masses and help its users build VIP connections versus digital acquaintances.”

Due to Bonder’s LBCP feature, this means that travelers using Swanson’s app will be able to connect with local people in the destinations they are planning to visit and utilize this network in order to better research and understand the community of their destination and what it offers to them. For example, if a Bonder user native to Los Angeles, California plans to visit Orlando, Florida, that user can reach out to individuals in their native LA community to ask questions or research what locations, restaurants, or tourist attractions would be best to visit in Orlando using Bonder’s “Point, Click, and Message” feature. Subsequently, that same user can connect to communities of individuals in Orlando upon their arrival to continue asking questions, conduct research on the area and its tourism offerings, and even build lasting relationships with locals in their destination.

A new way for travelers to connect and communicate

The impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the travel and tourism industry has helped spur the rise of what the industry refers to as the “conscious traveler,” or those who recognize the additional impact their travel plans and experiences have—whether as tourists or hosts—and who take action to, “advance the best possible outcomes for all,” according to Planeta. To put it more simply, conscious travel is where exploration and empathy coincide with one another.

Because conscious travel emphasizes creating and fostering deeper and more meaningful connections with not only travel destinations but also the people local to and living in the communities of these destinations, Swanson and his LBCP app find themselves in a position to reap the benefits of a projected uptick in conscious travel (as well as conscious travelers).

“It’s important for people to understand that we are not another Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter (News - Alert), TikTok, Parler, or Clubhouse,” Swanson told Influencive in an April 2021 interview. “We’re not competing with them…[Bonder is] something that evolves us beyond that space and a platform that works to...create more meaningful human encounters.”

By utilizing Bonder to connect with like-minded individuals in their planned destinations, a greater number of travelers will not only be able to conduct travel in more conscious ways, but also acknowledge the hard work of those individuals in other communities as potential hosts and guides. Since engaging with locals in communities of travel and tourist destinations is a key feature of Bonder as an LBCP platform, this will allow travelers using Bonder to remain mindful of where they travel, how they travel, and who they connect with throughout their journey.

Final Remarks

Indeed, Swanson’s vision for Bonder as the first LBCP of its kind poses the immense potential to create mutual value and benefits for its users. Rather than building an app that centers around creating individual followings, Swanson has created a platform poised to evolve into a true digital ecosystem—one where empathy and understanding are held in higher regard than simple likes, comments, and shares.

For those looking to reignite their travel plans as societies continue to gradually reopen and lax restrictions on tourists, Bonder can serve both as an innovative replacement for more traditional concierge and other travel services while also allowing them to explore, connect, and bond with a greater number of like-minded individuals in the destinations they plan to visit.

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