Simplifying and finding new ways to travel for work is the core mission of a set of nine technology startups that competed in a weeks-long Innovation Series. To help bring emerging technologies to market, Phocuswright sponsored the Innovation Series and Travel Leaders Group sponsored the inaugural Innovation Row at the 2017 Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Convention.
The friendly competition highlighted companies that are shaping the business travel space. Company leaders pitched their products in a series of webinars to a panel of technology and travel industry leaders who selected three finalists. Those three finalists squared off at the Convention in Boston during an Innovation Series education session and snagged a premier exhibition space on the Convention’s Innovation Row. Airmule, Waygo and 30K - the 3 winners from the Innovation Series webinars put the spotlight on their solutions for over 1,300 influential business travel buyers and corporate travel executives. Let’s take a look at the nine contenders focused on innovation and passionate about business travel technology.
9 Technology Innovators
Airmule enables travelers to sell their unused checked luggage capacity to TSA-certified shipping companies in exchange for the ability to book flights on their website for a substantially reduced price. Business travelers who don’t check a bag might earn up to $600 per flight, which they can then use as credit on Airmule for personal travel.
Waygo is a translation platform capable of instantly decoding Chinese, Japanese, and Korean characters into English, and does not require an internet connection. Travelers can use the app for real-time translations of street signs, menus, forms and receipts.
30K personalizes the flight search experience with a user’s frequent flier profile to compare flights not only based on price and schedule, but also redeemable miles and benefits like airport lounge access or priority check-in.
GroupSync allows meeting planners to search for space by entering criteria like rooms needed, preferred destinations, and minimum meeting space required. The tool filters out hotels and destinations that don’t meet the requirements, provides a comparison scorecard, and allows planners to directly send RFPs within the program.
Distribusion connects intercity bus operators to travel sellers. Buses are a notoriously fragmented market, but Distribusion is linking local bus operators with GDSs, tour operators, and online travel agencies to offer improved ground transportation options.
Mezi is a virtual travel assistant for planning and booking travel over a 24/7 messaging platform. After the initial reservations are made, Mezi can handle post-booking tasks like rescheduling and cancellations, dining reservations, and event tickets. Real-life customer service is available, if needed.
GlobeChat is described as a combination of Skype, WhatsApp, Google Maps and Google Translate. The app lets users send a message in one language to multiple people, each of whom receives the message in their own language.
Metaplanner pairs travel booking with Outlook. Users search and book hotels, flights, and ground transportation directly within Outlook and can also connect to an expense management platform. Travel managers may add travel policy and risk management software into the tool.
Local Measure aggregates publicly-available social media content related to a hotel guest and passes that data along to front-line hotel reception and management teams. This information enables hotels to deliver personalized customer service and respond to issues that arise during a guest’s stay.
Check out the discussion between Caitlin Gomez, VP of Business Development for GBTA, and Gabe Rizzi, President & CSO, Travel Leaders Group about Innovation Row, the showcase for technology solutions for global business travel at the GBTA Convention.
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