Four new programs have been accepted to Virtuoso's 2019 Incubator program. The innovative travel tech startups focus on tools that enhance efficiency for busy multitasking advisors, which agency owners identified as a key opportunity and focus for 2019.
The Virtuoso Incubator program is designed to assist emerging companies with refining their products with real-world testing from advisors. Each company works with a panel that provides input and proposes improvements to help member agencies, consultants and clients.
Last year, nearly 100 travel advisors volunteered to participate in the program and all indicated that they would be willing to serve on panels again this year.
The program has been very successful over the years, and former contributors have had a significant impact on increasing advisor productivity and sales.
"When we started Virtuoso Incubator four years ago, we were an industry pioneer," said David Kolner, senior vice president, global member partnerships at Virtuoso. "We saw a critical need to bridge the gap between travel technology startups and the advisors who could benefit from their products."
A network study found that advisors who use an itinerary management program from Incubator graduates Axus, Travefy or Umapped grew partner revenue by 29 percent.
"Incubator has been invaluable in giving our advisors a competitive edge by boosting their tech-savvy as well as giving them a choice in selecting the tech solutions that best meet their individual needs," Kolner added. "At Virtuoso, we're always striving for the win-win, and Incubator does just that by helping travel tech companies realize their promise while also automating some aspects of the travel planning process to allow advisors to do what they do best: service and wow their clients."
Virtuoso selected the four participants from a field of 62 applicants. After the trial period, Incubator companies are considered for full Virtuoso partnership.
The 2019 Virtuoso Incubator participants are:
Groupdesk: Group travel software that moves inventory management, registration and payments, into traveler self-serviced online portals and sites. Groupdesk automates time-consuming administration for advisors while removing many potentially error-prone steps.
Trips.app: A platform enabling advisors to create a beautifully designed website with a collaborative itinerary planner. Advisors and partners can craft unique itineraries quickly and collaboratively; market and sell inventory; securely process payments; and track commissions.
Emadri: A tool that generates relevant, shoppable packing and experience recommendations for travelers through technology that companies can plug into, automatically serving clients with personalized suggestions to improve their travel experience.
SION: A user-friendly platform that streamlines payment, management, and receipt of commissions by helping advisors organize bookings and track open invoices.