Promising to help travelers "be a local, worldwide," the site will connect individual travelers with individual vendors, so that travelers will be able to create entire local trips without leaving the site. The basic reason that's never worked before is scale; it's nearly impossible to get a sufficient number of vendors to connect lodging with food with fun. There have also been trust and risk problems, since paying in advance for niche services in isolated locales isn't always reliable.
Urbita solved the scale problem by spending months and months amassing tours and hotels and activities in, as of this morning, 76,866 points of interest, across 183,984 cities and towns, in 244 countries. They solved the trust problem by building it into the site, and holding payments until promised services are fulfilled.
Jaunted got the lowdown direct from one of the project's co-founders, who explained what makes Urbita different, and how it might very well change everything:
According to several studies, most people look at nearly two dozen websites before planning a trip. With Urbita, we are trying to solve the problem...by giving you the full picture about your potential destination not just from external sources we aggregated, but also from our editors and, more importantly, from other Urbita users' travel experiences.
Our marketplace will give you the opportunity to find out about and connect with independent local service providers, something until now very difficult to do from a different country, and until now impossible to book safely and in advance. Whether it is an independent local tour guide or an specialist in a particular field that gives lessons or provides you with a unique experience at your destination, through Urbita you will have a chance to find out about them, reach them and book them risk-free.
Although we initially will focus on services in Latin America, our reach is worldwide and so is the scope of our information.
The social person-to-person marketplace isn't open yet, so right now the site is limited to browsing destinations and points of interest. It should be open in a couple of months. In the meantime, here's a video explaining how everything will work: