The Future of Travel Summit was the first travel tech event hosted by the team at The Lab Miami and it didn’t disappoint. A couple of hundred people gathered for a full day of interesting panel discussions, innovative startup presentations and good old-fashioned networking. Read on for the latest in travel innovations.
Driverless cars and pilotless planes
It might be time to cash in your Bitcoin and focus on autonomous cars and planes. While there were no official presentations on the topic, nor any startups focusing specifically on it, autonomous transportation was mentioned by panel members at least five times. So, it got me thinking that my “Beanie Baby” retirement strategy may not be the best one!
Startups take the stage
Travel tech startups have been focused on a few key themes for several years now: the yet-to-be-cracked “seamless door-to-door” experience, in-destination content aggregation and distribution, hotel concierge/guest personalization, hotel operations efficiency, and the ability to use hotel assets in unique non-traditional ways. In addition to a couple of surprising new transportation disruptors, many of the startups at the summit showcased these themes, but with a fresh spin. Below are some of the standout pitches.
Porter & Sail pen themselves as a hotel digital “concierge super app,” providing guest services technology to boutique and luxury hotel properties. The app takes guest engagement to a new level, offering pre-stay communication, destination activity suggestions, restaurant reservations, keyless check-in and other concierge services from a hotel.
Simplenight is a new platform providing cloud-based distribution, inventory management, and merchandising and technology solutions. The platform provides one-stop shopping destination experiences, allowing users to search and book anything there is to do in any city across the world.
Daycation was the second runner up (and my personal favorite). The app provides day passes or monthly memberships that allow users to enjoy all the amenities of select hotels – pool, beach, spa, etc. – without having to pay for an overnight stay. This concept is especially attractive to the home rental/Airbnb-type leisure traveler.
HotelOnline is a cloud-based mobile hotel reservation management system based in Kenya. Serving as a “virtual marketing department,” the solution provides access to more than 100 online sales and marketing channels, bringing technology and automation to smaller hotels in emerging markets such as Asia, the Middle East and Africa.
VoyHoy was the big winner of the day. It’s an online operations and booking platform that provides users with access to alternative (or not otherwise easily accessible) transportation options within Latin America. Users can compare prices and schedules for ferries, trains and buses, as well as low-cost and traditional flight options. Then they can bring it all together with “smart ticket” technology. It’s a game-changer for local travelers and vacationers.
A list of all the impressive participating startups can be found here.
“We are always very honored to be asked to participate in events like this,” said, Kerri Zeil, Head of Amadeus for Startups. “The passion and creativity coming out of the travel tech startup world never ceases to amaze me. The future of travel sure is bright. I can’t wait to see the next wave of travel innovations come to fruition.”
Zeil was one of the judges for the startup competition at the Future of Travel Summit, and she’s overseen Amadeus for Startups since its launch in May 2015. Amadeus for Startups connects emerging travel tech companies with technology solutions, industry expertise and guidance, and a network of travel luminaries.
Click here to learn more about Amadeus for Startups.