HOLLYWOOD, Fla. — Two personalization and tracking platforms designed for hotels were among the big winners at the Travel Innovation Summit portion of the Phocuswright Conference here last week. But a consumer platform designed to solve vacation rental booking hassles beat out 41 other presenters to take home the contest's top honors, as well as $100,000.
Tansler, which also claimed the top prize for emerging companies between 18 and 36 months old, describes itself as a reverse auction site for vacation rentals. Travelers looking for a vacation rental browse homes out of the Tansler.com library of 500,000 properties. Once they've selected as many homes as they like (but at least two) they submit a single offer, which applies to each property.
The various homeowners then consider the offer; the first to accept it gets the rental. Cancellations are not allowed and the auction expires if no owner has accepted the offer within 24 hours.
The company makes its money by charging a 6% booking fee to the customer and a 3% booking fee to the host.
Taking the summit's prize as the top startup innovator was Proxce, an identity and location manager that provides auto check-in and keyless room entry for hotel guests, as well as the opportunity for targeted real-time advertising for the hotel.
Proxce end users will download the company's app and complete a one-time registration.
When they visit a participating hotel, the app will recognize them as soon as they walk onto the property. They'll be assigned a room without check-in, and they can enter that room by using their mobile phone at the door.
The app will continue to track a guest's location throughout their stay at a hotel. For the property, that means opportunities to help a guest navigate to locations such as a restaurant or gym. Hotels can also use the location tracking to deliver spot ads such as offering a happy hour menu to a guest at the bar.
Proxce promises that it keeps personal information encrypted and securely stored.
Claiming the top innovation summit prize for a company more than three years old was Revinate, which has rolled out a software-as-a-service solution that mines big data on a hotel's guests, enabling the property to deliver a personalized experience. Some 25,000 hotels worldwide are already signed up with Revinate.
Hotels can also use Revinate's Rich Guest Profiles to track guests on a property and then integrate what they have learned into specialized hospitality offerings and targeted marketing.
"To win in a highly competitive market, hotels must reinvent themselves," Revinate presenter Josh Steinitz told attendees.
Other innovations presented at the summit included several platforms designed to ease trip planning, airline bookings and last-minute ground transportation bookings.
Travefy, for example, is a group travel planner that also helps groups track expenses so that everybody pays their share.
Also among the well received summit entrants were Trekkable, a service that ranks a hotel's accessibility for disabled guests and helps those guests find an appropriate room, and Airhelp, which can mine three years of European flight data to determine if a person is entitled to compensation under E.U. law for late and cancelled flights. The company will then process claims for a customer and keep 35% of any award the customer receives.