Technology Virtuoso testing AI products By Jamie Biesiada / April 16, 2018 Share 1 -- The new round of travel technology companies accepted into Virtuoso's Incubator program this year for the first time includes companies focused on artificial intelligence (AI).Virtuoso on Monday said it accepted five companies into the program. In total, 45 applications were received, meaning only 11% were admitted.Two focus on AI: eRoam and HelloGbye. The first is an Australian company with an AI-powered solution that designs personalized itineraries based on trends. According to Virtuoso, eRoam's "technology continuously scans current travelers' data to advise future travelers of the same peer group on what is trending in transport, accommodations, and activities."Canadian company HelloGbye offers a tool to advisors that uses AI to generate recommendations for itineraries based on natural language, or spoken words. "It scans incoming communications and provides instant recommendations to advisors based on set preferences, purchase history and geo-demographic profiles," Virtuoso said.This year's Incubator companies are rounded out by Jrrny, a content creation platform; PlanitEasy, a central platform for customer relationship management, trip management and accounting; and ZoomandGo, a map-based hotel reservation and analytics solution.A panel of Virtuoso advisors test the products, then send suggestions to the companies. Last year, over 100 advisors volunteered to be on panels, and 100% said in a survey they would be interested in participating again, Virtuoso said.At the end of the trial period, Virtuoso considers each company for full Virtuoso partnership, with its services being rolled out to the global network of member agencies. Several have been accepted out of the Incubator program."Our priority is on tools that enhance service and efficiency, and this year, with our two AI startups, we are leading the way in helping shape this exciting technology for the benefit of travel advisors and their clients," David Kolner, senior vice president of global member partnerships, said in a statement.Virtuoso partners with Phocuswright on its Incubator program. Phocuswright and Virtuoso are also collaborating on a study of the agency landscape in the U.S., which Virtuoso said will help guide the direction of the Incubator program.Phocuswright and Travel Weekly have the same parent company, Northstar Travel Group.