Travel Technology Trendsetters Wanted for Class of 2019
Global luxury travel network Virtuoso® is inviting the world’s most exciting new travel technology companies to apply for its 2019 Incubator program. A pioneer when founded in 2015 to fulfil a need in the industry, Virtuoso Incubator helps startups strengthen products to enhance advisor productivity and client service. Still the only program of its kind, Virtuoso Incubator gives the network’s travel agency members a competitive advantage by bridging the gap between traditional travel agents and today’s technology-savvy advisors.
Virtuoso Incubator provides technology developers with real-world feedback from its network of industry-leading travel advisors, offering a uniquely valuable perspective from potential customers and enabling them to tailor tools to better meet market needs. In this year’s Incubator, almost 100 advisors from 80 agency members assessed solutions, providing guidance on improvements. As proof of the program’s value, all of 2017’s advisor testers wanted to take part in Incubator again this year. Once an Incubator company’s trial phase ends, it goes under consideration for full Virtuoso partnership.
“Virtuoso Incubator has made a real difference in the efficiency and service levels of the advisors who use these solutions,” said David Kolner, senior vice president, Global Member Partnerships at Virtuoso. “We recognise that not all agencies and advisors have the same needs. The diversity of these tech offerings, combined with the opportunity for our advisors to speak up and help shape their outcome, is the real strength of the program. We’re introducing cutting-edge tools and providing choices for our members.”
This year’s Incubator class was notable for its geographic diversity as well as the program’s first companies to focus on artificial intelligence applications:
eRoam: The AI-powered solution from Australia-based eRoam supplies personalised itineraries based on trends, releasing advisors from constantly observing developments for clients and enhancing efficiency. Its technology continuously reviews travellers’ information to tell future travellers in the same peer group what is trending in transport, accommodations, and activities.
HelloGbye: The tool by the Canadian company saves advisors time by using AI to create itinerary suggestions using the spoken word or ‘natural language’. It reviews incoming communications and provides immediate recommendations to advisors based on preferences, past purchases and geo-demographic profiles.
Jrrny: A content creation platform where advisors can promote destination posts that showcase their travel savvy, then acquire leads from those posts. With millions of readers on the platform, advisors can market themselves effectively to a targeted audience.
PlanitEasy: A one-stop solution providing customer relationship management (with ClientBase integration), trip management, communication portal, project management, itinerary builder, accounting, and soon RFPs. This all-in-one platform boosts advisor efficiency by closing gaps and making planning easier, which improves personal service and client experiences.
ZoomandGo: A map-based hotel reservation and analytics tool to make booking via the GDS much easier, increasing productivity and sales. The Canadian company’s solution helps advisors increase rate code usage and hotel program adherence as well as meet sales objectives.
The travel technology space set record highs in 2017 according to CBInsights, with $5.3 billion invested across 348 deals. Virtuoso is a dynamic force in the industry, with a new partnership with VoyagerHQ, which connects travel startups to investors and corporate partners. Incubator’s relationship with travel market research company Phocuswright is ongoing, as are affiliations with dedicated incubators, accelerators, and investment divisions.
The 2019 Virtuoso Incubator program is seeking companies focused on client and email management tools, group booking management, and activities and tour booking solutions. Startups can express their interest here. The deadline for applications is December 15, 2018. For more details, visit www.virtuoso.com/incubator