News | OnlineTravel startups find a place to grow at Travelport Labs acceleratorThis article was originally published onBy Sponsored Content | December 14, 2016 Just a year old and Travelport Labs accelerator already has kicked-off its third cohort at Travelport’s offices in Denver, Colorado.Travelport began its startup accelerator in 2015 to help entrepreneurs in the travel industry bring their innovations to market.NB: This article is sponsored content by Travelport Labs.The accelerator focuses on assisting early stage travel and tourism companies globally with an eye towards startups that are leveraging important trends in the industry such as virtual and augmented reality, chatbots and conversational-based commerce messaging systems, artificial intelligence, new suppliers of travel or access to new kinds of supply, or new resellers of travel.The accelerator is also interested in technology that can help accelerate ongoing strategic initiatives at Travelport, such as improving the performance of search and the relevance of search results.The third cohort class consists of four innovative travel startups:Stay22Stay22 makes it easy for event organizers to have their own hotel and apartment booking solution directly embedded on their website/app.The company’s founder and CEO, Hamed Al-Khabaz, feels the Travelport program is a key ingredient to the success of his startup:"I discovered Travelport Labs on a Tnooz article and I knew right there that Stay22's next step is to go through a program like that. Startups are hard, and travel is a tricky industry. Being surrounded with smart teams going through the same grind powered by an experienced staff running the cohort, it can be really motivating and game changing”Share this quoteCapeCape, who earned its spot in the program by winning a Web in Travel pitch contest in October plans to open standby seating, and the significant discounts associated with it, to the public. These standby tickets are currently being enjoyed only by airline employees and their dependants. Cape sold standby tickets are discounted at rates up to 75% off the full fare. With Cape as a distribution platform for standby tickets, the app encourages people who would otherwise not travel due to the cost to go ahead and do so. The airlines, thus, gain a new market segment and ultimately increase their revenue.Lyle Jover, Cape’s founder and CEO, agrees that travel startups are especially difficult and is excited about the opportunity. “As a startup, it's already challenging. Being in the travel sector, makes it even more. We're really happy that we have Travelport Lab's guidance as we navigate the waters. It has made us more confident in every decision that we make because we know there are people behind us who are more experienced and experts not only in this industry but also in other aspects.”Share this quoteCape's primary customers are airlines. Cape will help the airlines create incremental revenue with new demand for any empty seats. The combination of improved satisfaction and more efficient resource allocation (standby tickets) may lead to greater competitive advantage and superior profitability. It wants to help improve financial results without additional costs and without the risk of cannibalization (revenue dilution).WoloWolo is an online community that connects people based on common passions and aspirations via digital bucket lists. It drives discovery of new experiences and makes it easy to both connect with existing friends and meet new ones based on the lists you create. Users are then able to plan new experiences with their like-minded Wolo connections, as well as find travel advice from trusted sources that have already accomplished the things they want to do.AgentAveryAgent Avery is a messaging platform that connects hotel staff with their guests over SMS and popular chat applications. Using Agent Avery, hotels can always be available at their guests' fingertips to deliver a delightful experience. It makes it possible for hotels to turn potential negative reviews into praise, increase ADRs (average daily rate) through highly personalized upsells and cross-sells using the user's social graph data, and stay engaged with their guests to increase direct, repeat bookings. The Travelport Labs accelerator has had a successful first year working with new travel startups. Notable accelerator graduates include PicThrive; Tagible, which presented at Phocuswright; Asemblr, a recently launched meeting booking platform; and Unboundly which is poised to launch their discount travel service in the next few weeks.Nathan Bobbin, senior director of the Travelport Labs accelerator program says:"Travelport seeks to improve travel for the entire ecosystem with our Accelerator program by helping launch products that have great potential to help us and our startup partners create competitive advantage and better serve the travel industry market.”Share this quoteBobbin is particularly excited about the Fall 2016 cohort because it not only touches on several of these themes, but also includes the program's first Asia-based, an important region for Travelport’s future growth. Travelport Labs also works with intrapreneurs, Travelport employees who have an idea for a new product or service, as well as external startups. These employees spend the 16-week program working side-by-side with startup founders, working through a customer development and market validation process inspired and proven by other tech startup accelerators such as Y-Combinator, TechStars and 500 Startups.While new to the travel industry, this approach to corporate innovation has proven successful with companies such as Disney, Nike, and Microsoft. However, it now seems to be taking hold in travel as Marriott, British Airways, and easyJet have also unveiled their own labs initiatives.As the Travelport Labs team puts the third cohort through its paces, it continues to look for experienced travel executives and investors interested in mentoring the teams in the program.Bobbin says:"Being a mentor is a great opportunity to give back to the industry and to help an entrepreneur not make the same mistakes that others have made before them. It’s tremendously rewarding to see the collaboration between experienced travel executives and startup founders payoff in innovative new products that benefit the market.”Share this quoteThe next cohort kicks off in the spring and applications are being accepted from now until February 17th. NB: This article by Travelport Labs appears here as part of Tnooz’s sponsored content initiative.This is the second in a series aimed at following startups through the Travelport Labs accelerator and uncovering their experiences. Check out our previous article on tracking graduates of program and a second piece on why Travelport launched its labs.