Travel Innovation Summit 2009 - every innovator reviewedNewsBy Kevin May | November 17, 2009Share This article was originally published on The Travel Innovation Summit took place on day one of the annual PhoCusWright Conference in Orlando, Florida on Tuesday 17 November 2009.Thirty-four ten-minute presentations from early stage start-ups to skunkworks in large travel organisations were made over the course of the day.Two yet-to-launch, Alpha, companies were also invited to showcase their products.The overall winner will be announced on Thursday 19 November 2009. Here is a short review and analysis of each participant.10BestSolutions "10Best's knowledge about the travel and hospitality industry is reflected in VinePulse, an industry-unique social media reputation monitoring and response tool. VinePulse offers a user-friendly, flexible, comprehensive dashboard that allows all the stakeholders - from corporate managers, to regional managers, down to individual property managers - to listen and interact."Share this quote Analysis: A very slick and easy-to-use interface to track mentions of brands in social media and elsewhere on the web. I suspect the tools it has aggregated are being used anyway by marketing departments in large organisations - but it could certainly be a valuable service for smaller companies, but only if they are willing to part with money to buy the service. No mention of the business model. AboutAnywhere "AboutAnywhere is an OTA that charges hotels a 10% margin, which is then reinvested to provide consumers with tangible benefits through strategic partnerships with major consumer brands. Hotels control their positions within their destination through an auction-based PPC tool. AboutAnywhere republishes hotel Twitter feeds, allowing hotel tweets to reach a wider audience, and allowing consumers to use this information to choose a hotel."Share this quote Analysis: No innovative technology here to speak of - just some interesting and bold pricing plans which the founders hope will put pressure on OTAs. Plans for integration of flights and package holidays.Other Tnooz analysis.Amadeus IT Group "Affinity Shopper is an innovative solution for travellers searching for airfares on airline websites. With Affinity Shopper technology, the traveller no longer needs to conform to the traditional from-to-search concept, turning the traditional search page on its head." Further information from Tnooz.Share this quote Analysis: Is this a potential game-changer in air fare search? Affinity Shopper is certainly a fundamentally different way of putting some intuitive search tools in the hands of users. The map might be tricky for visitors to get the hang off - if only familiar with traditional airline website search - but the overall user experience is extremely good and the filtering tools and integration into the booking platform is seemless.CarTrawler "CarTrawler has built an application for all map-enabled smartphones that allows consumers to find the closest and cheapest car-rental offerings by using their GPS-enables cellphones to locate car rental depots on the location-sensitive map. Users can book a car using the phone with only one touch, or can use one touch to call the appropriate reservation desk."Share this quote Analysis: "Trying to make car hire sexy" - very neat app which draws in availability, price, location of car rental providers. Allows call-feed and mobile booking facility. One of the best elements of the app? Extremely low bandwidth to stream the data. Only available on new Nokia Ovi system, although existing platforms in the pipeline. CheapLimoRates "CheapLimoRates is a comparison shopping and booking engine website for the limousine industry. CheapLimorates enables customers to search, book, request quotes, and manage personal/corporate accounts. What makes the company unique is that it is the first comparison shopping and booking engine website in the $10 billion limo industry."Share this quote Analysis: Limos are sexy to some, but how do you make a site which is essentially a metasearch engine for flashy cars sexy? With difficulty if this is anything to go by. Some strong imagery a few pages in plus decent content and product range, but missing something.ConnectMe 360 - ALPHA "Twavl is a directory of local Twitter profiles for hotels, restaurants and other travel destinations. Tawvl helps local businesses learn how to use Twitter to attract new business by using maps, videos, reviews, menus and other rich media to provide virtual tours and gain the trust of an increasingly discerning audience."Share this quote Analysis: Confusing web service which makes use of Twitter to find product information. Sorry... Dapper "Travel advertisers have a constantly changing inventory, and Dapper Ads allow them to connect their travel offers in real-time to their display ad campaigns. Dapper Ads' intent engine uses a combination of real-time bidding and geo, behavioural, semantic and contextual cues to decide exactly which impressions to buy, and then which offer from your website inventory to show in the ad creative, each time the ad loads."Share this quote Analysis: A clever piece of kit which effectively makes an advertiser's content more interesting on websites. The back-end system is very neat - allowing the advertiser to cherry pick which offers they want included in a flash-based ad through a combination of drag-and-drop and click-select. The service also taps into the contextual arena by allowing the advertiser to specify which keywords are most likely to be associated with the content, meaning the ad can be placed in a relevant position. Decizium "The YourTour engine creates complete trip proposals (attractions, accommodation and routing) based on individual user preferences in a matter of seconds to deliver what would normally take hours or even days of online travel planning."Share this quote Analysis: Pretty good user experience and some interesting tools but not sure where it stands out amongst the trip planning crowd.Other Tnooz analysis.Exalead "Exalead provides next-generation smart search technology to travel sites to improve the relevance and trust of travel search and booking experiences. Typical travel customers spend hours in multiple sessions on multiple websites to book travel reservations. Exalead shortens this process by combining travel planning, search and deals into a single process that refines their interests in seconds and concludes their transaction in minutes."Share this quote Analysis: Unfortunately not as inspiring as the perhaps the creators would hope for in a market already heavily served by content sites, travel planning providers and deals publishers. Expedia Media Solutions "StorePoint Expandables take expandable rich media and marry it with micro-site content to deliver rich, highly relevant content that immerses travel consumers in an engaging micro-site experience captured within the expanded creative panel. StorePoint micro-site design brings valuable information to the customer at an earlier stage in the research and/or transactional funnel without having to navigate away from the page."Share this quote Analysis: Interesting and creative use of display advertising where clients can integrate product lines, content and video. However, it is an ad-led product and probably an initiative most ad creative agencies are either doing already or in the product pipeline. Gliider "Gliider is a research tool that lets the user find and gather travel info from any site on the web, then shows deals specific to that trip. It is the only travel tool that permits the user to grab content from any site on the web with a simple and intuitive drag-and-drop feature. Gliider is the only travel tool with Ask Around - a way to get travel advice from people that are known and trusted via Facebook."Share this quote Analysis: Del.icio.us for travel with some nice bells and whistles on it, Gliider is a rather tidy browser plug-in that which could be handy for the procrastinating travel planners. The drag-and-drop feature looks very simple and easy-to-use and there is clearly some pretty good software behind it. Wonder how Google Wave will impact on the service, potentially? Probably missing a trick by not having a mobile service to transfer content to.EveryTrail "EveryTrail for iPhone and Android lets users search, download, navigate and share trips while on the go, creating an unprecedented deep travel experience. Its trip database of over 200,000 trips from over 140 countries, all created by a 100,000-strong member community, ensures that wherever in the world the user is, plenty of nearby trips can be found and followed by using a smartphone."Share this quote Analysis: Quite brilliant mobile app which has got not only some extremely clever features but traffic AND engagement. The interface where users can plot their journeys directly into the system using geolocation software on the handset is clever, the ability to share the trip with users on the main site and Facebook et al is relevant, and the overall user experience with the brand is excellent. 1,000 uploads a day is extraordinary and regular visitor numbers around 250,000 mark.Goby "Goby is a new type of search engine for exploring new things to do in your free time, from taking a unique vacation to creating a weekend adventure. Originally developed as an MIT research project, Goby utilises advanced, deep web search technology to provide users access to information about a vast array of leisure activities, events, dining and lodging options sourced from databases across the web."Share this quote Analysis: Superb user experience. Goby is a pure content-driven site with some extremely intuitive tools to create an different way of searching for travel and leisure-time products. As mentioned here, Goby opens up some useful opportunities for niche product providers, but the research and data-mining needed to include them all might be a heavy drain on resources.GuestCentric "GuestCentric's SaaS platform allows independent hotels to develop long-standing relationships with guests, improve online revenues and lower expenses associated with online distribution, through the use of web 2.0 technologies. For reasonable prices, Guestcentric provides easy-to-use tools, that up until now, were only available to hotels with big budgets and large teams. With GuestCentric, independent hoteliers are able to control the distribution and customer-relationship power that the internet provided and can easily provide the professional online experience that guests demand."Share this quote Analysis: Twitter-centric tool which could be extremely handy for hotels. It's a clever system and allows for some nifty pre-trip CRM and marketing. Question marks over how the service deals with high volume. iPerceptions "The unique integration of Voice of Cusotmer survey data with corresponding behavioural/clickstream data, delivered through an advanced interactive dashboard. The most innovative version of this integration is made possible by matching relevant session-level Google Analytics raw data with matching individual VoC survey responses, as opposed to the commonly available aggregated data."Share this quote Analysis: Complicated - by definition - but detailed and potentially valuable tool to give website owners the ability to track, monitor and deal with variances in traffic and user behaviour. Whether or not website owners are willing to abandon their existing monitoring tools remains to be seen. Language Weaver "Language Weaver is launching a web-based application to provide trusted, automated translation for the travel industry. This product will deliver translations out of the box at a quality level that meets the requirements of travel companies that are focused on hospitality, booking and publishing. This will enable companies to launch sites, services and information simultaneously and cost-effectively across many languages."Share this quote Analysis: Another intuitive web-based language system which clearly does an important and valuable job as travel sites expand into new regions and need to localise their content. The Language Weaver tool also includes a system to ensure links and link-related issues are included. Localyte "Localyte is a growing community of over 40,000 local experts who actively help travellers at their destinations. It is the world's first living, breathing travel guides and is available on the web, through mobile devices and now - for the first time - through third party websites. Travellers use Localyte in their planning to gain the insider knowledge that only locals have."Share this quote Analysis: Great use of locals (and astonishing number) to help travellers plan trips and give tips and advice. Excellent to see there is a good incentive scheme to reward the local helpers and traffic-usage is good. Integrating into a mobile app is obvious but hugely relevant for on-site engagement, plus the white label version clearly gives the company scale. Milestone Internet Marketing "EBuzz Connect is a online social media management system for hotels, restaurants and businesses to monitor and manage their online reputation and social media channels from an integrated single interface. The system enables hotels to respond to reviews and comments from the tool whenever the channels offer capabilities for hotels to respond. In addition to social media channels, eBuzz Connect also monitors online travel agency channels such as Expedia and Travelocity."Share this quote Analysis: Probably the best of the social media monitoring tools on show. A very well designed dashboard which includes every area of social media coverage such as TripAdvisor, Facebook, blogs, forums, Twitter et al. The tools also allows specific keyword analysis and the ability to weight the importance of coverage on individual sites. Not a game-changer by any means, but a useful service. Mondial Interactive "Travel Insurance 2.0 is the first offering of a revolutionary ancillary revenue platform that maximises travel insurance revenue per traveller for Mondial's partners. Travel Insurance 2.0 uses web services, innovative merchandising techniques and advanced statistical algorithms to promote continual advancement in travel insurance sales per traveller. Through real-time information transfer from our partner, we perform segmentation analyses and then create the optimal mix of product, content, graphics and choice architecture to drive ancillary revenue from the sale of travel insurance."Share this quote Analysis: Doesn't appear to much more than a contextual travel insurance advertising platform. However, ancillary services are king and if third parties are able to sell a few more travel insurance packages bolted onto an existing product then Mondial will have achieved something.Planetism - ALPHA "The world's first travel website to empower uses to research and book vacation options based upon their budget , rather than a particular destination, Planetism will forever change the way people shop for vacations. Planetism will provide users multiple vacation options (air and hotel), all tailored specifically to the user's budget. Dynamic GUI will invite action on the part of the user, simplify management of results, and allow for expedient purchase."Share this quote Analysis: Yet another trip planning and search site claiming a seismic shift in the way people search for travel. SpeedRFP "SpeedRFP is the first and only online request for proposal tool that is completely portable. When planning an event, meeting or incentive trip, SpeedRFP lets you take your RFPs along anywhere on the web and submit an RFP on any site that accepts SpeedRFP, in as little as three clicks. The site allows users to submit an RFP to any hotel in the world, whether or not that hotel's website in SpeedRFP-enabled."Share this quote Analysis: Leftfield, in terms of its position against the other firms playing the game here today, but undoubtedly a worthy entrant with some clever software crunching the gears behind the scenes. Has already secured some major partnerships with hotel chains and there is strong adoption and growth.Tourabout "Tourabout has created a real-time Social GDS for vacation operators, destination activity companies and DMOs. A range of interlinked social, media and product technologies merge commerce and community to enable organisations to directly engage travellers earlier in the planning process in ways that demonstrate expertise, build social equity and increase bookings." More information from Tnooz.Share this quote Analysis: Any product that connects and allows engagement between niche operators and users is going to be broadly welcome given that the barriers to entry on other content sites for companies are high. There is a question over whether the site will be able to attract users when they can reach out directly to providers, but alternatively if its THE place to go to find such information and interact with such activity providers then it has big potential. Translations.com "Translations.com provides clients with an unparalleled group of resources to deliver high-quality translations for any type of content. Its innovative GlobalLink OneLink application gives organisations the ability to launch multilingual websites with zero internal IT or project management requirements, and provides an automated solution for keeping multilingual websites in sync with their source language equivalents."Share this quote Analysis: Clever software at the heart of the product and probably useful for smaller page sites. The issue with translating initiatives is that they shouldn't be something to be taken lightly, or necessarily quickly. So while the technology behind the scenes here is no doubt good and intuitive, speed is perhaps not the KPI. Oh, and Google Translations...Travel Guard "Travel Guard has developed a comprehensive suite of innovative enhancements to its travel agency technology, ProfitPlus. These enhancements include highlighting to agents the right coverage for travellers at the point-of-sale based upon data heuristics, and providing expert-based email communications pushed out through its proprietary EMS technology, including automated marketing to support partners and encourage client retention."Share this quote Analysis: Interesting tool for agents if it strips out the time consuming efforts of retailers when browsing multiple insurance provider sites or brochures. In addition it has an interesting CRM tool which acts as a communication tool for agents pre and post-booking and allows agencies to have a stronger relationship with the customer, rather than passing them on to the supplier.Travelport "Journey Manager represents a traveller-centric online experience, leveraging social networking and journey collaboration, across all consumer devices. In doing so, Journey Manager provides an end-to-end travel planning and booking platform, throughout the entire travel lifecycle."Share this quote Analysis: Interesting and hugely improved platform for third parties out of the Travelport biz development team which allows users to manage joint search and booking in quite a user-friendly and meaningful way. The interface is ease-to-use and makes use of some innovative tools such as mobile management and other trip concierge services.Traveltainment "Traveltainment's technology serves the next generation of leisure traveller with solutions that more intuitive and dimensional, allowing them to search in the way they think, asking questions such as: 'Where can I go? what can I do for what I want to spend?' Traveltainment has created an online leisure-traveller playground where holidaymakers can explore and determine the trip they are interested in, based on their desired travel experience." More information from Tnooz.Share this quote Analysis: Plenty of elements to the overall pie. The Traveltainment system(s) appears to be aimed at multi-million dollar businesses, given the sheer number of different services on offer, such as web interfaces, content tools and Microsoft Surface applications. All rather good though. Traxo "Traxo is a centralised and constantly updated travel dashboard that members can use to manage, organise and share their travel plans. Traxo's 'set-and-forget' model automatically aggregates travel information from across the major online travel sites, eliminating the need to enter trips by hand or constantly forward confirmation emails. Traxo allows users to selectively share their past and upcoming trips with the friends they trust and helps promotes travel supplier and agency brands via social networks such as Facebook."Share this quote Analysis: WAYN, Dopplr TripIt and now Traxo! Traxo takes the itinerary management area a tiny step further by allowing users to track their itinerary by integrating their usual booking sites into the system. The system tracks changes to an itinerary and integrates quite nicely into Facebook and a user's other social networks. TripCase "TripCase is a consumer, post-booking mobile application platform that can automatically import PNR information into a trip container providing easy, one-click access to trip details, keeping the traveller organised throughout a trip. Manual upload is also available if the PNR information cannot be accessed or if the consumer wishes to add in more details. TripCase provides consumers with details on hotel, rental car and airline providers." More information from Tnooz.Share this quote Analysis: Entering a growing market which already has TripIt and Worldmate. Some decent functionality, however, with a very nice app dashboard. Clearly having the mighty Sabre behind it helps in terms of potential reach. Will be forever innovating against the other app providers to include more bells and whistles. Which isn't a bad thing.TripWare "TripWare's product line allows business travellers to plan, book, and manage travel directly in business calendars. TripWare's algorithms calculate loyalty, behaviour and future travel needs."Share this quote Analysis: Despite the intuitive and easy-to-use interface, it appears Tripware is only useful for Microsoft Outlook users. And only those in corporates who do not use TMCs to organise their own flights, hotel and other travel requirements, which is admittedly still a large market. Nevertheless, some of the predictive tools are extremely well integrated and could be very practical. Vanguard ID Systems "100% accurate web to print on-demand luggage tips with uploadable graphics allows customers to immediately identify their luggage from across the room. The customer's keystrokes literally make the product using an advanced cloud-based manufacturing process. Luggagetag.com provides a lifetime guarantee."Share this quote Analysis: Fun. Nice Christmas gift, perhaps? Quirky ancillary service for suppliers and OTAs? The tag printing service is nice, but the meat on the bones of the Vanguard system is the RFID hardware, allowing users to track their luggage by buying an easy-to-use USB tag to place in their kit. Voyage.tv Voyage.tv is a new media channel focused on experiential travel discovery. It is distributed online at voyage.tv and in nearly 30 million US homes via free cable TV video on-demand. Its affluent urban audience is engaged through original video on select luxury properties and in-destination lifestyle interests - such as spa and gourmet - all professionally produced in vivid high definition. Rich editorial content complements the video, linking consumers' aspirational viewing behaviour with a world-class booking engine."Share this quote Analysis: Okay, it's a TV channel, streaming system and a video content provider. There is some interesting features such as click-thru tools to party websites.Voyij "Born out of frustration of searching for a travel deal (sales, promotions, discounts), the Voyij founders saw an opportunity to bring innovation to this underserved, yet significant category of travel. Unlike virtually every other travel site, Voyij does not require your destination or dates of travel. Rather, Voyij prefers customers provide only their home airports and let Voyij find everything on sale, relevant to them."Share this quote Analysis: Travelzoo with a few bells, whistles and all-important automation, Voyij is starting to push the boundary of deals publishing with a vastly different user interface to other sites in the same space. Integrating Twitter streaming into the service adds the all-important social media element to the mix and the development of affiliate channels indicates growth potential.x+1 "x+1 makes online media and marketing more effective by identifying highly valuable customers and prospects and serving up relevant content on ad units, sites and landing pages. x+1 products enable online marketers to reach their target audience anywhere on the web. Site+1 is an audience management solution that automatically assembles data about customers and chooses the statistically optimal messaging to show each visitor in order to drive more profitable site visits."Share this quote Analysis: Another intuitive B2B advertising platform, x+1 is using some clever dashboard tools to slice and dice existing ad inventory which can then be targeted into third party websites. The contextual management system is reasonably intuitive. Kudos to presenter Jason Shulman for getting through the presentation after the tech nightmare during his first attemptZipSetGo "ZipSetGo is a content-rich, online, community-based travel website that offers information about the hottest and most luxurious travel destinations. ZipSetGo aggregates extensive amounts of credible content, organised in a usable format that employs social media to create a community of informed travel professionals. To ignite interest and create an emotional connection, the site provides visitors with the ability to see the world through the eyes of the go-girls."Share this quote Analysis: The concept of the Go-Girls is bizarre. Phase 1 of the project is basic, arguably more of a blog of content and downloadable documents. Apparently phase two and three (booking) is where the interesting stuff starts.