WTM2013: Get your start-up off the ground with Sabre and WTM Fresh

Mark Frary is co-founder of the social media and digital consultancy Travel Perspective, which helps travel and tourism clients devise winning marketing strategies for the future

In the world of entrepreneurs, failure is often a pre-requisite for success.

It seems that the experience of the bad times gives them the character and experience to make a go of it with a new idea. Failure is common in the world of start-ups.

Take the UK. In 2012, there were around 400,000 new businesses launched. It estimates that one in five of these will fail in the first year.

Worse still, half of them will have gone under within three years. Those sobering failure rates do not stop serial entrepreneurs or other people who have that lightbulb moment.

There are hundreds if not thousands of new travel start-ups launched around the world each year, many of them using technology, mobile or social media to try to become the next big thing.

The beauty of the internet is that it has lowered the barriers to entry to the market; it has made it possible for people with a good idea and plenty of energy and enthusiasm to create a potentially game-changing new business overnight.

To help encourage travel technology entrepreneurs, we are excited to launch at this year’s World Travel Market a new elevator pitch competition called WTM Fresh supporting innovation among start-ups in the travel technology sector as part of the Travel Tech Show at WTM.

If you are not familiar with the idea of an elevator pitch, it is this: you have just the time it takes for an elevator journey (or lift if you are British) to convince a would-be investor of the brilliance of your business idea.

We have chosen to focus on one aspect of travel rather than opening up WTM Fresh to just anyone with a good idea.

This year, WTM Fresh focuses on trip inspiration and travel planning, whether that is before, during or even after a trip (to help give others ideas).

The competition is open to start-ups less than a year old on 6 November and is intended to give them a helping hand to get to the next level.

To do this, the winning start-up will win a prize of £5,000 from our headline sponsor Sabre Travel Network.

But to win the prize, the start-up will have to win the admiration of a tough panel of judges:


  • Joakim Everstin, innovations manager at Sabre Travel Network

  • Lee Hayhurst, head of news at industry publication Travolution

  • Timothy O’Neil Dunne of travel tech accelerator Vaultpad

  • Valyn Perini of travel technology standards organisation, the Open Travel Alliance

  • Paul Smith of British start-up accelerator Ignite100

  • Mark Frary, co-founder of social and digital consultancy Travel Perspective (that’s me)

As well as the cash prize, the winning pitch will also receive mentoring from the panel – an invaluable helping hand in such a competitive business. Entries for WTM Fresh close on October 16 and full details and an entry form can be found here.

If you think you could be the next travel tech darling, enter today.

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