In Phocus Conference Recap

November 12, 2014 Katherine Oberhofer

Travel Innovation Summit 2014: Trends and Insights

Thirty-two startups vied for the General Catalyst Award for Travel Innovation during Tuesday’s Travel Innovation Summit. Presenters frequently visited four underlying themes during their pitches:

  1. Personalization – using machine learning, combining personal data with real-time information, and leveraging a variety of discoveries gleaned from big data to make highly relevant recommendations.
  2. Integration of all kinds of long-tail and ancillary travel services, including travel insurance, car rental, destination services and duty-free shopping. In essence: “Would you like fries with that?”
  3. Simplifying the consumer travel experience: removing the pain of arranging ground transportation, recovering from flight disruptions.
  4. Helping travel suppliers and sellers work more efficiently and profitably by enabling better revenue management, reducing IT investment, and improving speed and reliability – most often by capitalizing on cloud services.

Many innovators on Tuesday focused on intermediaries – online travel agencies, destination management organizations and travel management companies – rather than on the B2C space. The disruptive business models proposed by some presenters conflicted sharply with supplier interests, prompting Critics Circle panelist Terry Jones to describe one innovator’s product as “anti-revenue management software” and to suggest that another “get some insurance” as protection from supplier retaliation. 

See a full list of finalists and recap here. 

About the Author

Katherine Oberhofer

Katherine Oberhofer joined Distil as a Marketing Manager with many years of experience in the marketing world. She worked with both LivingSocial and a government contractor in DC, helping each achieve maximum results and growth through strategic marketing, communication and an online presence.

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