Travelport, the Slough-based technology company serving the global travel industry, has launched a new global accelerator programme in collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS), Travelport Accelerator, dedicated to addressing the travel industry’s biggest retailing challenges.
Tom Kershaw, Chief Product & 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, large and small, to drive the modernisation of travel retailing for the benefit of the entire travel ecosystem.”
Travelport Accelerator will see tech startups and innovators looking to enter the travel space take aim at a series of different travel retailing challenges, such as data protection, hyper-personalization, and customer acquisition. Once the challenge has been set, companies with existing technology and products that are relevant to the challenge and use cases outlined on the accelerator webpage are invited to apply.
A cohort of up to 10 companies will be selected to proceed to the next stage, which involves pitching solutions to a panel of judges from some of the world’s most renowned travel companies, including American Express Global Business Travel, Priceline, Internova Travel Group, Direct Travel and Christopherson Business Travel. A group of up to three participants will ultimately 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 with deep experience working on AWS.
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 set by Travelport and AWS is to introduce cutting-edge digital marketing technology for travel companies, which uses behavioural and demographic traveler data to deliver highly targeted and personalized, 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 today. Entry forms are available at www.travelport.com/accelerator. The deadline for submission is midnight Pacific Daylight Time (PDT) on Wednesday 22 September 2021.
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 prioritize 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-personalized. 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!”