Hotelbeds, Wayra announce 1st startups for TravelTech Lab

Hotelbeds and Wayra, Telefónica’s open innovation initiative, announced the winners of the first TravelTech Lab by Hotelbeds challenge. Four startups were singled out during a competitive pitch for their potential in providing disruptive solutions to connect B2B global travel ecosystem stakeholders and create a frictionless travel experience.

More than 60 proposals were submitted from companies based in 18 countries, including Spain, South Africa, Israel and Japan. Launched in February, the TravelTech Lab by Hotelbeds is powered by Wayra and seeks to reimagine travel by changing the way people travel.

The winning startups are:

Botslovers: Creates chatbots that use artificial intelligence training to serve as virtual assistants, freeing employees for other tasks and reducing companies’ operational costs by organizing the customer service section.

Grain: A unique end-to-end integrated currency exchange solution that enables travel software platforms and marketplaces to eliminate currency exchange risk for their customers. They achieve this by eliminating exchange rate volatility in hotel room accounts payable and allowing their customers to pay foreign currency bills in their local currency through local lanes.

Smartvel: Offers a complete set of solutions to solve different needs throughout the customer’s journey, where the right content makes the difference. Its technology collects, categorizes, translates, enriches and validates both destination content and travel requirements.

 Chekin: Helps owners of tourist accommodations to automate the entire check-in process, from the moment the reservation is created to the check-out, generating up to 80% time savings and increasing revenue with each booking.

“We were blown away by the response to our first challenge,” said José María Pestaña, Hotelbeds’ chief innovation officer. “The competitive pitch process meant it wasn’t easy choosing the winners, but we’re confident we have uncovered some game-changing solutions. We’re looking forward to working with these startups and disrupting the travel ecosystem together.”

The four startups will now have access to industry experts, Wayra’s network of investors and potential access to a pilot of up to €40,000 with a Hotelbeds business area to kick-start their ideas. They will also be able to use the innovation spaces at Wayra’s offices in Madrid and at Hotelbeds’ headquarters in Palma de Mallorca.

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