Travelport looks to start-ups to solve travel retailing’s biggest challenges

Travelport looks to start-ups to solve travel retailing’s biggest challenges

Travelport is inviting technology start-ups to apply for a new accelerator programme that will set out to address a series of challenges in travel retailing.

The new Travelport Accelerator is being supported by Amazon Web Services (AWS) and will see 10 firms taken on following an initial pitching phase.

Short-listed firms will present their ideas to a panel of judges from American Express Global Business Travel, Priceline, Internova Travel Group, Direct Travel and Christopherson Business Travel.

They will be looking for innovators focussing on specific areas of travel retailing like data protection, hyper-personalization, and customer acquisition.

Tom Kershaw, chief product and technology officer at Travelport, said: “No single person or business has the solution to all of travel’s retailing challenges.

“The most effective way to drive innovation, especially at pace, is to unite bright minds from diverse backgrounds and geographic locations and focus their energy on solving a specific problem.

“That’s precisely what Travelport Accelerator will do. We look forward to working with companies across the world, both large and small, to drive the modernisation of travel retailing for the benefit of the entire travel ecosystem.”

Out of the 10 finalists up to three will be selected to move to the final round, solving the challenge in collaboration with Travelport and AWS. Each will be given access to Travelport+, Travelport’s next-generation travel marketplace.

Selected start-ups may receive up to $100,000 in AWS Activate credit and each participant will receive mentoring from travel domain and technical subject matter experts.

The program also offers collaboration opportunities with AWS travel customers and members of the AWS Partner Network (APN) looking for technology solutions to their most challenging problems.

David Peller, managing director, AWS Travel and Hospitality, said: “With millions of active customers, AWS enables organizations of every size, around the world, to innovate.

“Travelport Accelerator supports that effort by giving travel innovators the potential to pitch their technology to some of the most influential leaders in the global travel industry and to influence the future of travel retailing.

“We’re proud to collaborate with Travelport on this as we work together to optimize Travelport+ and create a simpler, smarter, and better future for travel retailing.”

The First Challenge

The first challenge set by Travelport and AWS is to introduce cutting-edge digital marketing technology for travel companies, which uses behavioural and demographic traveller data to deliver highly targeted and personalised, real-time offers to customers.

The solution must complement the advanced capabilities of Travelport+, which in a normal year will process hundreds of millions of travel transactions, and reduce the cost of customer acquisition and retention for Travelport’s customers.

Applications are open with entry forms are available at www.travelport.com/accelerator. The deadline for submission is midnight Pacific Daylight Time (PDT) on Wednesday September 22, 2021.

Applications will be judged on several factors including the innovative and unique nature of the solution, the overall value it will bring to the industry, the creative application of technology to solve problems, and the team’s ability to deliver on the opportunity with Travelport and its customers.

Jen Catto, chief marketing officer, Travelport, said: “The sheer volume of channels that communicate messages to people today is breathtaking, as is the amount of content each pushes out.

“Our brains are therefore forced to prioritise the information they receive. If you’re not compelling enough, you’ll be at the back of the queue – forgotten, literally.

“To be heard, it’s now table stakes for digital marketing to be highly targeted and hyper-personalised.

“Historically, this has been a challenge for travel companies because selling travel is complex, access to travel data has been limited, pricing is real time, demand trends evolve rapidly, and offers contain multiple products.

“Due to this, according to a recent study by Sojern, 84% of marketing professionals in the travel industry now see AI and machine learning for personalization of digital marketing as a high or very high priority.

“Challenges, however, are there to be overcome, and we believe this challenge can be solved by bringing together the right people and the right technology. We can’t wait to get started.”

Travelport Accelerator is part of Travelport Focus, a Travelport innovation hub supported by AWS. The hub contains three pillars: Technology, Intelligence, and Customer Voice.

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