The six finalists in the Travolution Award for Start-up of the Year have been announced ahead of the ceremony this December.
A new category for this year, the award attracted a diverse range of entries from across the travel sector.
Among those that made the final six are two in the fast-developing tours and activities sector, travel’s last great unaggregated areas, and one pioneering a peer-to-peer model.
There is also a more traditional destination specialist tour operator, a company with a unique holiday payments offering and another in the important analytics and business insight arena.
Lee Hayhurst, Travolution editor, said: “We’ve seen some great entries for this new award that demonstrate the breadth and depth of innovation in the travel sector.
“Start-ups in travel are notoriously difficult to establish, but our final six have as good as chance as any to succeed and move beyond the start-up phase.”
The six that made the shortlist are:
• Latin Routes – A new tour operator operating in both the B-B and B-C sectors established by former Traifinders agents Martin Johnson and Jessica Bain who spotted a gap in the UK market. From a standing start the company has grown to an expected turning over of £762,000.
• Travelfund – This company’s Fly Now Pay Later offering is a new way for customers to buy their holidays on credit and spread their cost over a longer period before and even after their trip. The firm was established by entrepreneur Jasper Dykes and former Tui Travel Specialist director Enrico Di San Marzano.
• Travelogix – Analytix, an online data reporting solution, was launched to the market by Travelogix in July 2013. Now it is handing over £1 billion worth of data annually. The system was built in partnership with a group of Travel Management Companies over an 18 month period,
• TourRadar – Also shortlisted in the best Travel Agent category, this group tours specialist started taking bookings in October 2013 after relocating to Europe from Australia. Founders Shawn and Travis Pittman have attracted am impressive team of investors as they look to scale the tours marketplace.
• Tripster – This mobile application was developed to enable local activities and services in destination to be bought via smartphones. Run by a team of ex-Tui executives and mobile entrepreneurs, it has developed an Airbnb-style booking engine that allows bookings to be made via emails.
• WeSwap – An innovative peer-to-peer foreign exchange website, WeSwap offers travellers the opportunity to swap currency as a fraction of the cost of high street FX providers. Founded by Jared Jesner and Simon Sacerdoti, WeSwap is currently live in 10 European countries offering six currencies, with more due to be added.
Travelfund and WeSwap are due to take part in this year’s Travolution Summit, pitching their ideas to delegates in the Innovators session supported by London & Partners.