Luxury travel network Virtuoso has welcomed five promising travel technology companies into its incubator programme for 2018.
The incubator helps emerging firms to refine their products and adapt the technologies to its needs to give its agents a competitive edge.
Virtuoso said the five new incubator members were chosen from 45 companies that applied and includes the first to focus on adapting artificial intelligence applications for travel.
Each incubator company receives a dedicated panel of Virtuoso advisors who test the solution and suggest enhancements to better meet the needs of travel agencies, consultants and clients.
In 2017, more than 100 advisors volunteered and, when surveyed, 100% of them indicated they would like to participate again.
Once the trial period ends, incubator companies are considered for a full Virtuoso partnership.
Customer relationship management solution TravelContact, a 2017 participant, has been accepted into the network, and its services will be rolled out to member agencies worldwide.
David Kolner, senior vice president, global member partnerships, at Virtuoso said: “Virtuoso Incubator is the industry’s first programme to provide travel tech start-ups with a missing but vital link.
“Companies had ideas and products, but no real-world testing to back them up. Through Incubator, our advisors lend strategic insight to help companies finesse business models, prioritise needs and validate assumptions.
“Our priority is on tools that enhance service and efficiency, and this year, with our two AI start-ups, we are leading the way in helping shape this exciting technology for the benefit of travel advisors and their clients.”
This year’s incubator inductees are:
eRoam: Based in Australia, eRoam offers an AI-powered solution that delivers personalised itineraries based on trends, freeing advisors from the need to constantly monitor developments for clients and improving efficiency. Its technology continuously scans current travellers’ data to advise future travellers of the same peer group on what is trending in transport, accommodations, and activities.
HelloGbye: The Canadian company offers a tool that saves travel advisors time by using AI to generate itinerary recommendations using the spoken word or ‘natural language’. It scans incoming communications and provides instant recommendations to advisors based on set preferences, purchase history and geo-demographic profiles.
Jrrny: A content creation platform for advisors to promote posts about destinations and their travel expertise, then capture leads from those posts. With millions of readers of this social travel platform, advisors can maximize marketing efforts and benefit from exposure to travel-savvy followers.
PlanitEasy: A central platform encompassing customer relationship management (with ClientBase integration), trip management, communication portal, project management, itinerary builder, accounting, and soon RFPs. This one-stop solution increases advisor efficiency by closing gaps, and makes planning easier, client experiences better and service more personal.
ZoomandGo: A map-based hotel reservation and analytics solution that makes booking via the GDS much easier, boosting productivity and sales. The tool from the Canadian company helps advisors increase rate code use, improving hotel programme adherence and achieving sales goals.
Virtuoso Incubator is open to applications. Interested start-ups can contact the programme at firstname.lastname@example.org.