by Matt Alderton | February 17, 2014
Travel has always been one of the world's most innovative industries. After all, just think about the impact of the automobile, the airplane or the online booking engine. What the next great travel innovation will be is anyone's guess, but chances are good that it will come from one of these top 10 companies, chosen by Fast Company as "The World's Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Travel":

10. HotelTonight
HotelTonight lets users find cheap hotel rooms at the last minute. "The company [has] added a couple of innovative features," Fast Company says. "Users can now 'gift' a room to someone else, and 'Snap Your Stay' encourages users to snap, edit, and upload shots of their hotel rooms to receive credits ranging from $5 to $10."

9. Tensator
Tensator makes holograms that serve as virtual flight assistants. "Lauded by some as the employee of the future — and not just at airports — Tensator's holograms are projected in HD, speak in multiple languages, and answer passengers' questions about security, flight and gate locations, and airport navigation," Fast Company says.

8. Peek
Peek uses photography and testimonials to curate trips and events for vacationers. "The company has been around for a little more than a year and has already expanded to 19 cities," according to Fast Company. "In December, Peek made a play for travelers' pockets with a mobile app that curates local activities for instant purchase."

7. WeatherSphere
WeatherSphere offers TurnCast, a navigation app that helps users navigate around inclement weather. "WeatherSphere's apps also employ "nowcasting," a feature that informs users the exact time a storm will hit and how long it will last," Fast Company says.

6. Lyft
Lyft turns ordinary people into taxi drivers. "The company has surpassed 1 million rides (it averages 30,000 per week), expanded to a total of 19 cities, and secured $60 million in funding from renowned venture firm Andreessen Horowitz," Fast Company observes.

5. Wild China
Wild China is introducing foreign travelers to China, and Chinese travelers to the world. "[It] can offer a sensibility other traditional tour groups cannot, from journeys through the Tibetan Kingdom of Bhutan to canoeing and halibut fishing in Alaska," Fast Company says.

4. Alta Bicycle Share
Alta's bike-sharing program helps ease traffic and improve the environment. "It manages systems in New York, Boston and Chicago, as well as in Columbus, Ohio, and Chattanooga, Tenn. — two of its newest installations," Fast Company says.

3. Google
Google is as much a travel company as it is a search company. "The Google Maps mobile app, which it revamped last year, is currently (and unsurprisingly) the most-used app in the world," Fast Company says. "After the upgrade, each user's map is personalized with venue suggestions from his search history."

2. Tesla
Electric vehicle company Tesla is making travel by car smart again. "Tesla has carved out an undisputed lead in the electric-car industry with its revolutionary Model S," Fast Company remarks. "But the unveiling of the company's charging stations were equally noteworthy and less heralded."

1. Airbnb
Airbnb allows users to rent out their spare rooms or vacant homes to strangers. "By this summer, Airbnb will usurp the InterContinental Hotels Group and Hilton Worldwide as the world's largest hotel chain — without owning a single hotel," according to Fast Company.

Source: Fast Company