Expedia® Affiliate Network (EAN) and Hotels.com® today announced the top five finalists for Hotel Jumpstart, a mentorship-driven accelerator programme aimed at supporting the most innovative travel-tech start-ups of the future.
Following a rigorous selection process from more than 230 applications, a panel of expert judges from EAN and Hotels.com heard 10 shortlisted candidates present their proposals, before selecting the top five. Judges included Ariane Gorin, president, EAN brand; Johan Svanstrom, president of Hotels.com brand; Mariano Albera, vice president of technology, EAN brand; Ian Knox, vice president, global product, EAN brand and Thierry Bedos, chief technology officer, Hotels.com brand.
Over the next six months, the chosen five will be mentored by subject matter experts from Hotels.com and EAN, who will lead them through a specially designed programme including advisory workshops and mentoring sessions covering everything from product development and machine learning to strategy, sales and marketing. Additionally, start-ups will also benefit from access to EAN's full suite of content-rich APIs.
Hotels.com and EAN are collaborating on the project with Traveltech Lab, a London-based incubator for early-stage technology businesses created by The Trampery, specialists in innovative spaces to drive creativity and entrepreneurship and London & Partners, the Mayor's official promotional agency for London. As part of the package, the five chosen startups will each be given a place in Traveltech Lab's shared workspace throughout the duration of the programme.
Ariane Gorin commented: "The Hotel Jumpstart pitches were truly inspiring. We saw energized, passionate teams working across various parts of the travel industry and trying to solve different problems. From in-trip experiences like photography, bag storage to hotel revenue management solutions, digital marketing solutions and trip planning – the innovation was breath-taking."
"At Expedia Affiliate Network, we give our partners the tech building blocks in order for them to innovate. The same can be said about start-ups – there is so much innovation that happens in that community. Hotel Jumpstart is our way of giving back to that community while allowing us to stay connected to the latest in tech innovation."
The five finalists are:
Bag storage startup CityStasher, founded by UK nationals Matt Majewski, Jacob Wedderburn-Day in 2016, provide secure and cost-effective spaces for tourists to leave luggage for short periods of time. Dubbed 'The future of luggage storage', the company enlists a variety of small businesses, known as StashPoints, to store luggage in 18 UK cities and in Amsterdam and Paris.
Shoot My Travel
Shoot My Travel is a digital marketplace that connects travellers with local professional photographers, on demand, in 230 destinations worldwide. Founded in 2015 by Valerie Lopez and Camilo Rojas, the Miami-based startup is the first vacation photography platform to offer photo tours operating through an iOS App.
DayBreakHotels is the world's first online marketplace selling hotel rooms, apartments and luxury ancillary services on a modular basis and at a fraction of the standard room-per-night price. Through DayBreakHotels' website, rooms are available for six to eight hour reservations and ancillary services like meeting rooms, spa treatments and gym facilities are sold either individually or in a package.
Italian nationals Simon Botto, Flavio Del Greco, Lorenzo Stabile and Michele Spadone launched the company in 2013 with 100 Italian hotels. Today the website lists 3000 hotels in 11 different countries.
Live2Leave is a travel app created by Celeste Owen-Jones & Lea Bourratiere that enables users to record travel experiences and see recommendations from a community of selected friends. The app also allows users to save travel notes and build itineraries, facilitating in-destination planning. Live2Leave currently has 7,000 recommendations in 1,600 cities spanning 193 countries around the word.
B2B Start-up TripTech are building a direct marketing engine to improve the relevance, security and scale of direct marketing in the travel sector. The technology aims to help travel companies acquire applicable, down-the-funnel users by providing accurate, real-time prices and safe URLs. The team includes Artem Kubatkin, Pavel Glushkov and Fedor Kovalev.
In July 2018, the finalists will again be invited to present their business models to a panel of judges at a gala ceremony attended by senior Expedia executives and employees, invited guests and selected media. An overall winner will be selected and receive US$10,000 worth of Hotels.com travel vouchers to go towards their business travel expenses.
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