Small Business & Startups, Technology, and Travel & Tourism

Startup launches app for booking nearby adventures

August 24, 2015
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Adventurate screenshot
Adventurate is a mobile booking app that helps users find discounts on nearby adventures. Courtesy Adventurate

A new mobile application is bringing affordable adventures in Michigan to the fingertips of outdoor enthusiasts.

Adventurate, an application built for the iOS platform, launched last month and is helping users explore Michigan by discovering adventures, excursions, tours and rentals at a discounted rate in select locations throughout the state.

The application

As a mobile-booking solution, Adventurate provides a cost-effective and streamlined process for individuals reserving an activity, and also serves as a tool for small businesses to showcase their services.

Jake Santangelo, founder and CEO of Adventurate, said the idea for the application developed after attempting to reserve an airboat tour while traveling and trying to navigate the booking process.

“What I found is the search process for finding just a comprehensive list of all the places in the area was difficult, and when I had come to the actual process of booking it, I had to play phone tag, leave a voicemail, and it made it a little more complicated,” said Santangelo. “I thought about how awesome of a service it would be to have something like an Amazon for adventures.”

For users

Users can download the free smartphone application currently available on iTunes and look for different Michigan-based experiences using their location or search options.

Individuals can the select a date and time for the tour or rental, pay the discounted rate from the phone, and simply show an email receipt to the business at the time of the excursion. The application also includes features such as videos and links to the guide’s website, and notifications of special deals and nearby adventures.

“Adventurate is a marketplace for adventures,” said Santangelo. “It is free for users to use and there is about an average discount somewhere between 10 and 15 percent.”

For businesses

The application is also free for businesses to be listed on the mobile platform. For every sale made, Adventurate receives a roughly 10 percent commission. Adventurate currently features eight different Michigan-based companies with adventures such as a two-hour kayak rental through downtown Lansing for $17, a city tour of Detroit for $23, stand up paddleboard sessions in Grand Haven for $25, a fishing charter for salmon in Manistee for $405 and a group paintball outing in Holland for $225.

“For the businesses, it is a really nice tool. These are small businesses that I work with for the most part and some of them can’t even access their phone, because they might be on the water,” said Santangelo. “Originally they would have to lose out on a booking if they didn’t get back in time.”

While the application launched on the consumer market as a pilot in select Michigan locations about a month ago, Santangelo said he has already released an update version and is continuing to add more companies as he partners with new businesses.

“The app is constantly getting better in design and I’m having more options for people. One company I added the other day is the Segway tours in Grand Rapids,” said Santangelo. “There is also a company that does sandboarding, which I didn’t even know existed until recently, but it is like snowboarding down the Silver Lake sand dunes.”

The vision

While the application currently features excursions and adventures in select locations from coast to coast in Michigan, Santangelo said the goal for Adventurate is to expand beyond state and country borders.

“Right now it is helping people explore Michigan, but I want it to really help people explore other states, around the country, and really around the world,” said Santangelo. “Where you could spin a globe around and throw a dart on the map and find an adventure nearby on Adventurate, that is what I see as the long-term vision for the company.”

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