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What:Virtuoso recently unveiled five travel technology companies that will enter its Incubator program in 2017. This year’s roster includes Approach Guides, TravelContact, Tagible, TripFiles and Xlpr VR.
Why It Matters:The Incubator’s newest recruits have been hand-selected by Virtuoso for having the potential to enhance the travel advising process and client experience. This program has continued to offer a breath of fresh air in the travel tech space, which is largely dominated by online travel agencies, direct-booking campaigns or outdated platforms that threaten the relevance of traditional travel advisors. All agents — Virtuoso members or not — would do well to take note of these rising stars.
Fast Facts:- Virtuoso received applications from more than 60 companies this year.
- The travel technology sector saw corporate investment deals reach a five-year high of $3 billion in 2016.
- A panel of Virtuoso advisors will test each product and suggest enhancements and improvements to the company.
- A member of Virtuoso’s Technology Committee acts as each panel’s liaison to the Incubator program.
- The committee also vets applicants and approves companies that are offered Virtuoso preferred partner status.
- Virtuoso has also partnered with Phocuswright to refer innovative technology startups to the program and share research with the marketing organization.
- Virtuoso is currently accepting applications for next year’s roster of companies.
What They Are Saying:“Virtuoso Incubator was founded to fill a void in the travel advising industry,” said David Kolner, senior vice president of global partner memberships at Virtuoso. “Our objective was to seek out business solutions for our travel agency members and create a real-life use case scenario for companies that were developing the technology we needed. The value to these tech companies is tremendous because we’re giving them access to their future customers, who are also providing feedback in real time. What we’re getting in return is the opportunity to create customized technology options for agencies ranging from just a couple of people to hundreds.”