Realising that safety is a key concern when it comes to travel, Michael Becker created a resource to rank global destinations at a neighbourhood level.
“Safety is central to travel. We want people to be more confident and inspired about travelling to any part of the world, and we want to encourage travel in an informed, engaged and empowered way,” said Becker, CEO of GeoSure.
In 2013, the US-based technology company launched its GeoSure app, a personalised safety travel resource aimed at female travellers. In September, after three years of development, an LGBTQ+ safety rating for more than 30,000 neighbourhoods across the globe was added.
The app uses AI and crowd-sourced data from a range of organisations, including United Nations, World Health Organisation and crime statistics, to score individual neighbourhoods. Each area is ranked on a scale of one to 100, with one being the safest. Scores are updated to reflect current situations, such as political events, natural disasters and strengthening economies.
“Our ultimate goal is to enhance, enrich and empower the travel experience. We felt there was a huge gap in the market,” said Becker. He notes the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, which led to a swathe of travel cancellations in East and South Africa.
“These destinations are more than 5,000km away, as far away as New York is from London,” he said, citing the travel warnings after the 2015 earthquake in Nepal as another example. “We are trying to help solve this problem by providing very localised information. Our goal is to support the tourism economy.”
Becker also hopes the app can prove useful in countries where there are travel bans in place. “If you put a travel ban or warning on an entire destination, it can have devastating impacts on the tourism economy when there may only be small parts of the country affected and the rest is fine to visit. This app can help solve this problem.”
Operating on a B2C and B2B level, GeoSure is working with OTAs, TMCs, DMOs, tourism boards and other organisations to offer customers, employees and members hyper-local safety information.
Said Becker: “OTAs want to provide users with safety content when booking flights and destinations, as well as after travel begins. DMOs want to promote safety to attract more tourism, and TMCs have insatiable demand for and from corporate travel clients to supply rapidly accessible location safety understanding.”
Looking ahead, GeoSure is developing more safety features for additional travel segments.
“The message of inspired and empowered travel, not fear or anxiety – nobody wants to create trepidation among travellers or customers – is rapidly trending as the best way to encourage smart, informed travel,” concluded Becker.