PhocusWright2010 Travel Articles

Lixto Software: Travel Innovation Summit
Lixto Software: Travel Innovation Summit Company Name: Lixto Software Official Website: What do they do? Lixto extracts specific and precise data from the web to “drive operational performance and real-time competitive price visibility for travel & transport, consumer products and automotive supply chain clients.” Are they a business-to-business (B2B) company, or business-to-consumer (B2C)? B2B Founder(s): Christian Köstler is responsible for Sales & Marketing and Professional Services at Lixto. Most recently, Christian was Sales Director Automotive Europe with Agile Software (AGIL). Marcus Herzog received his PhD from the Vienna University of Technology. Marcus started his professional career working for a number of companies, including Siemens AG, in the information technology sector in engineering. Date Founded: 2001 Presentation Notes: Lixto’s software harvests data from the web, consolidates and analyzes it for customers. As a non-techie, a lot of the presentation went right over my head (or maybe it was that it was 8 hours into the day when they took the stage), but it looked to me like a more comprehensive Google Analytics for pricing analysis. Why should/shouldn’t travelers care? If you can’t tell from the description of what Lixto does (above), it’s B2B business, with no application (that I could see) for individual travelers.
vtopics: Travel Innovation Summit
vtopics: Travel Innovation Summit Company Name: vtopics, by Corporate O Official Website:, What do they do? vtopics represents a new way to search the web, and a way for companies to advertise to a targeted group of people at the same time. For each of the 20 subjects on the main vtopics page, the company is looking for strategic partners – and then those companies will be able to place advertising in several places on each of the vtopics pages they are partnering with. Among the 20 subjects is a travel page. Are they a business-to-business (B2B) company, or business-to-consumer (B2C)? B2B Founder(s): Carlos Cayon Date Founded: 2010 Presentation Notes: vtopics calls itself “The Site of Sites,” and is a visual way to search the internet. Instead of getting infinite text-based results on a topic, you click on one of the subjects on the main page of vtopics and get a horizontally-scrollable display of 10 websites considered “top sources” on that subject. You can narrow the subject by the drop-down menu, or by typing additional keywords into the search bar at the top of the page – and there’s a line of thumbnails at the top of the page so you can easily get from one website to another without needing a horizontal scrolling bar. If those 10 websites don’t have what […]
Stash Hotel Rewards: Travel Innovation Summit
Stash Hotel Rewards: Travel Innovation Summit Company Name: Stash Hotel Rewards Official Website: What do they do? Stash is a hotel rewards program that’s designed to let travelers use the rewards points they earn at independently-run hotels in the United States. This gives travelers the ability to book more unique hotels while still earning rewards points. Are they a business-to-business (B2B) company, or business-to-consumer (B2C)? B2C Founder(s): Jeff Low is the founder of Stash, and serves as the company’s CEO. Prior to founding Stash, Low created and ran Expedia’s ThankYou program and created the Expedia credit card. Date Founded: 2010 Presentation Notes: Stash is a new way to connect independent hotels via a rewards currency program in a similar way that chain hotel rewards programs have and that doesn’t currently exist. With chain hotel rewards programs, it’s always the same number of points that a traveler would be “charged” for a room, regardless of the time of year – so hotel chains just black out the more expensive dates. With Stash, hoteliers are able to change the number of points required for a room at different times of year, so there aren’t any blackout dates. Stash also gets travelers to free rooms more quickly than chain hotel programs. There are currently 100 hotels in the program, with 125 more in the pipeline. Jeff Low, founder […]
TripTelevision: Travel Innovation Summit
TripTelevision: Travel Innovation Summit Company Name: TripTelevision Official Website: What do they do? Provides a complete solution that enables online travel marketers to increase revenue, retention, and consumer satisfaction through a combination of video and Emmy-Award winning, patented technology. Are they a business-to-business (B2B) company, or business-to-consumer (B2C)? B2B Founder(s): President and CEO, Kulin Strimbu is a travel industry veteran bringing over 20 years of sales, marketing, and technology experience to her role. Before establishing TripTelevision, she was Vice President and co-founder of Invivio, a software integration consulting company that focused on combining disparate technologies for Fortune 100 organizations. Prior to Invivio, Kulin was the National Director of Sales for the largest tour operator in North America, The Mark Travel Corporation (TMTC). Presentation Notes: When a film crew shoots footage of a destination or attraction, there’s a 10 to 1 excess ratio – meaning that for every minute of film used in the final video, there are 10 minutes of film that end up on the cutting room floor. Travel marketers and businesses need film footage, but may lack the budget to send a professional film crew to a destination. TripTelevision forms content partnerships, taking the excess film from shoots done by CVBs and cable tv and independent film producers and re-purposing it to sell to marketers. Online marketers get content to edit […]
Vayant: Travel Innovation Summit
Vayant: Travel Innovation Summit Company Name: Vayant Official Website: What do they do? Vayant has a new airfare search tool that will run behind the scenes of both online and offline distributors. The company says they deliver higher ROI for its customers by delivering more targeted results that travelers are more likely to book, and that they will be “launching with a well-known meta-search engine.” Are they a business-to-business (B2B) company, or business-to-consumer (B2C)? B2B Founder(s): The CEO of Vayant is Atanas Z. Christov, a former senior consultant at Kinsey working with the world’s leading airlines. The company has offices in New York, Madrid, and Sofia, Bulgaria. Date Founded: [couldn’t find this information] Presentation Notes: Vayant OneSearch is a search tool that “maximizes choice” for the traveler without multiple searches. One single search would yield results that include multiple providers, unrelated airlines, different classes of travel, etc. – so one traveler could fly coach on one leg and business class on another, or fly two different unrelated carriers on one trip. These options are presented to the traveler based on an online profile that’s created (but apparently not necessarily stored) and the information the traveler puts into a specific search – travelers are assigned “personalities” from this information. Customer preferences are used as criteria to start the airfare search, rather than a filter […] Travel Innovation Summit Travel Innovation Summit Company Name: Official Website: What do they do? Online limousine reservation service that allows users to compare fast, free quotes from the world’s best limo services. Are they a business-to-business (B2B) company, or business-to-consumer (B2C)? B2C Presentation Notes: isn’t all about limousines just in the traditional sense, they also offer booking for other types of private cars and drivers. ask why it is that in the taxi category the process for booking is not as easy as booking a hotel or flight, with info and prices easily searchable online.  The problem is that most consumers have a choice of a local company that they can book over the phone and that offers good prices and service, or a national company that offers reliable service and online booking but that charges a premium for it. addresses that problem by working with the best best local suppliers and making them compete online for business so that consumers get the best price. The benefit to the consumer is that they can order a car service online from a list of pre-screened suppliers and read user-generated reviews about each service to help them make their decision. Consumers just input the dates, the reason for the car (airport trip, wine tour, special event, etc) and then select the car that […]
Goby: Travel Innovation Summit
Goby: Travel Innovation Summit Company Name: Goby Official Website: What do they do? An “inspiration engine,” Goby shows you things to do nearby and around the world. Are they a business-to-business (B2B) company, or business-to-consumer (B2C)? B2C Founder(s): Prior to starting Goby, CEO Mark Watkins led Engineering & Professional Services for Endeca, a provider of search and information access solutions for the online arms of companies such as Borders, IBM and American Express.Vince Russo, Goby’s CTO and co-founder is the former CTO with Reprise Media, a leading full service search engine marketing firm. Michael Stonebraker, a Goby co-founder, is a pioneer in database and research technology, with more than twenty-five years of experience. Mujde Pamuk is a product architect and co-founder of Goby who previously worked as a research scientist at Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Presentation Notes: Goby is an “inspiration engine” that answers the question “what is there to do?” The program finds things to do using local search, social networks, travel sites and mobile, taking information, photos, and reviews from the around the web for each attraction and putting them all in one place. There are over 350 categories of things to do, from restaurants and attractions to museums and tours. The program also puts each item on a map, adds it to a […]
OneRez: Travel Innovation Summit
OneRez: Travel Innovation Summit Company Name: OneRez Official Website: What do they do? OneRez is a database of hotels and car rental companies that qualify for the US government’s definition of “small and disadvantaged businesses” (SDBs). Government departments and contractors can use this database to fulfill their SDB requirements easily. It’s the only SDB database for the travel industry. Are they a business-to-business (B2B) company, or business-to-consumer (B2C)? B2B Founder(s): Brian MacKenzie, OneRez President & CEO, has a background in federal government contracting. Date Founded: 1998 Presentation Notes: OneRez thinks that not only will having a list of small business hoteliers, car rental agencies, and other travel-related companies benefit governments with SDB requirements to fill, it will also provide people who try to be socially conscious when they travel with another way to be responsible – by supporting small, local businesses. OneRez is the only small business database in travel, and they call themselves “the source for socially responsible travel.” The system also allows business owners to post information about themselves (similar to a Facebook profile), so travelers can learn more about a hotel owner before they choose that hotel. Major chain hotels that operate with a franchise model have endorsed OneRez. They charge an annual membership fee, but that’s not the whole revenue model. Why should/shouldn’t travelers care? Eco-travel is increasingly popular, […]
Off & Away: Travel Innovation Summit
Off & Away: Travel Innovation Summit Company Name: Off & Away Official Website: What do they do? Off & Away uses a new type of auction called a bid-to-win auction, where you compete for an amazing suite at an unheard of price – up to 99% off. Are they a business-to-business (B2B) company, or business-to-consumer (B2C)? B2C Founder(s): Doug Aley has over 10 years of product, marketing, and business development experience across online retail, mobile, and web applications. Prior to Off & Away, Doug was VP of Marketing and Business Development at Jott Networks (sold to NUAN ’09). Prior to Jott, Doug led product management efforts in retail and digital categories at Michael Walton spent his career focused on building amazing customer experiences at companies like Orbitz Worldwide, where he lead the CRM & personalization efforts for and, and in their Digital Media division. Presentation Notes: Off and Away offers one of the freshest ideas in travel that I’ve seen in a while. Instead of bidding in a traditional auction, users bid, but never really lose.  How it works: users buy bids for $1 each. Each bid on a hotel suite adds up to 20 seconds of time to the clock and increases the bid amount by 10 cents. If you win, you pay the final price. If you lose, the […]
AFAR Media: Travel Innovation Summit
AFAR Media: Travel Innovation Summit Company Name: AFAR Media Official Website: What do they do? AFAR Media is a travel media company focused on “experiential travel,” and the product line consists of AFAR Magazine as well as the AFAR Foundation (designed to help students who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford it have study abroad and cultural exchange experiences) and a soon-to-be-launched website called AFAR Connect (intended to help travelers connect with similar people on the road). Are they a business-to-business (B2B) company, or business-to-consumer (B2C)? B2C Founder(s): Greg Sullivan and Joe Diaz; Greg is a former corporate securities attorney and investment banker turned entrepreneur, and Joe is a former teacher and real estate investor. Date Founded: 2009 Presentation Notes: AFAR was presenting AFAR Connect at the conference, which they described as “eHarmony meets TripAdvisor.” Rather than a new source of travel information, the goal of AFAR Connect is to be a new way to sort that information so that you only see what’s relevant to you. AFAR Connect asks members to fill out a profile and they are then assigned to one of 30 different travel profiles within the system. Connecting with other people in your same profile allows you to find like-minded travelers to share information and travel tips with. You can follow other members who share your interests, so you can […]