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When MeetnGreetMe got featured on Producthunt on August 21, I was on vacation and would have probably omitted these news. I’ve heard about this startup before, but I believed it hadn’t reach the “coverage stage”. In brief, MeetnGreetMe is an online service where a traveller can book personal assistant, or concierge, services from local people. It includes meeting at the airport and driving to destinations, cityguiding, interpreting, accompanying and helping in various institutions like banks, hospitals and so on.
The motivation to cover MeetnGreetMe right now is very personal, indeed. Next week my mother with my 2 year old niece are going on vacation in Roses (Spain), which is a two-hour ride away from Barcelona Airport. No direct trains, and only two buses a day, which they won’t be able to catch on the day of the arrival. And I thought it would be so handy if the personal concierge service had been already up and running and had a network as large as Airbnb.
At the moment the alpha version of the service is available, and here’re my few remarks. First, the company’s business model supposes that they charge a commission on the services travelers book. However, the price is always the compromise between what greeters ask and what travelers are ready to pay, so it can vary hugely depending on greeters’ needs – making new friends or making money. Also, what if a greeter wants to help globetrotters for free? For an analogy, there is Couchsurfing for home owners who want a supposedly enjoyable company and Airbnb for those who want to get a rent. And by they way, the idea of the personal concierge service was born when the founder and CEO Elena Shkarubo helped a Brazilian lady for free.
Other issues are related to security and safety. You never know who meets you at the airport and where they drive you. Moreover, what is the driver’s liability if he gets into a car accident? Currently MeetnGreetMe checks meeters’ applications manually, but when the network grows they will have to address these questions more thoroughly.
At the moment the majority of registered greeters are from Minsk, the city where the startup’s founder and CEO Elena Shkarubo comes from, but there are other greeters (expats with slavic names) from 17 countries.
Although I’m an autonomous traveller and I don’t see myself as a MeetnGreetMe client, but I’ll keep an eye on them, for my mom’s sake… 🙂
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vita at goaleurope dot com