Here at Tnooz, we’re always celebrating startup innovation, and this spring a lot of other industry players have been celebrating startups, too.
The biggest spotlight events have been Phocuswright's Travel Innovation Summit winners in India and winners in Ireland.
Smaller events putting startups in the spotlight have included our own hackathon in Mallorca and Travel Tech Con -- an event sponsored by Plug and Play and other supporters in Silicon Valley on 21-22 May.
Startups also got a stage for strutting their stuff this spring at Sabre's annual customer forum.
Sabre assembled for a pitch competition the following startups: GuestDriven, Hello Scout, Proxce, Suiteness, and Voyat.
Melinda Peters, strategic marketing manager at Sabre Hospitality Solutions, explains that the selection process was informal, but the company wanted startups who are still at an early-stage and whom hoteliers may not have met with before.
Each startup was given eight minutes to pitch, and then were quizzed by a panel made up of Hani Joakim (SVP of product development, Sabre), Scott Pusillo (VP of market strategy, Viceroy) and Mark Haley (partner, Prism Partnership).
The audience was asked to vote via an app-based system on their answer to the question, “Who is the ‘Most Innovative’ in hospitality tech?"
Hello Scout, the text-based personal travel assistant mobile app, won the day, chosen by a popular vote from about 300 hotelier attendees, after its demo of how on-demand, local concierges could provide more authentic experiences for busy guests.
“We think hospitality tech is changing massively, and we like to make sure we and our hoteliers are seeing what new cool technology is out there..."
"We innovate ourselves, but there are so many startups doing things outside of our realm but adjacent to it. This was a way to bring some more of that innovation energy to forum, and provide a different perspective on the guest experience to hoteliers."
Here's hoping that more big industry players support the evolution of the industry with events like that.
Related:Startup pitch: Hello Scout gives hotel guests a chat-based travel assistant
GuestDriven lands $3 million fund to push mobile tools to hotels
Startup pitch: Proxce gives hotels mobile check-in and keyless entry
Voyat raises $1.8M for its hotel CRM tools, which keep tabs on guests after their stays