Innovation in Travel: Meet 5 New Companies Who Are Stepping Out of The Box in 2012 – By Rosie Akenhead
EyeforTravel has picked five of the industry’s hottest new companies and invited them to “pitch” to our panel of investor judges as part of TDS Europe 2012. Today, we are playing devil’s advocate: Who are the participants and what makes their products so special? Plus, what are the questions our dragons (ahem, judges) might be asking?
Jim Davidson is the CEO of IflyBags.com : The concept here is simple: it isn’t about you, it’s about your bag (mine’s a Mulberry, thanks Jim). With a forever turbulent ancillary system across the airline industry, you never know exactly how much luggage you can take on your flight, and what the restrictions are. Iflybags.com tells you up to date information on airline checked baggage allowances and is one of a kind.
Dragon’s Den Question:: There is no direct competition for this site, but what’s the money making model?
Our next innovator is Dan Reilly, CEO of BlinkBookings.com. Dan’s working history is with Groupon, and boy does he know how to make a great travel product. BlinkBookings is a mobile application exclusively for last minute (and we mean last last minute) hotel bookings. The product boasts a super savvy interface, easy functionality and a growing list of both hotels and destinations involved.
Dragon’s Den Question: There are a few models similar in the US, but is this the one to break the European last minute mobile market? If so, why?
Hallst.com, our next start up, allows peer to peer hotel room sales. Have a non-refundable room which you can’t use in Berlin next week? Sell it to someone else at cost price or even for a profit. Similar to Seatwave but for hotel rooms, this is a growing force to be reckoned with. Founded by Alfredo Ouro, who has a long and exciting history with start ups.
Dragon’s Den Question: How does the model benefit the hotelier? How does it affect rate parity if rooms can be re-sold by customers with a heightened or lowered, uncensored pricetag?
This innovator, Greg Solovyev, has snuck over from the other side of the pond but we think it is worth the steal. Citybot.com, self-labelled the “stealth mode start up,” is a personal travel guide, designed to help travellers create and optimize day itineraries in cities, based on their individual interests. Consumer destination marketing is on the up and up, and an intelligent guide which picks out stuff for you to do based on what you like, could just be the ticket.
Dragon’s Den Question: What are the other travel guide operators doing in this space? How do you plan to market the product en masse?
Last but certainly not least, is not a new start-up, but it is absolutely a start-ling new product (see what I did there?) Tour CMS have a brand new product on the market which is the industry’s first brandable backoffice and distribution system for tours and activities. Alex Bainbridge, the founder, describes it as, “a system designed with start-ups and new industry players in mind.” It works by allowing new companies into the travel ecosystem without hassle. Seeing as tours and activities is the third biggest sector in travel after airlines and hotels, this is a serious force to be reckoned with.
Dragon’s Den Question: What’s different about this distribution system? Why is it so special for the tours and activity sector?
These five savvy finalists will be up against our panel of industry judges this 18th April in London. Who do you think is in for a win?