The FutureTravel Pitch Competition is Here! 🏆

 Subscribe to our newsletter for a weekly curation of the top travel news, straight to your inbox.

I couldn’t think of any other picture for this week’s edition of the FutureTravel Newsletter. Not exactly travel related, and you might have seen it also in other news sources you follow. But this is just too beautiful not to share – and to be honest it is also crazy (!) to think that this is where we live. I mean… what!

Anyway, while great things are happening in space, there’s also plenty of action here on earth. Today, I’m so proud to announce that we are opening the application phase for this year’s FutureTravel Pitch Competition!

We are looking for early-stage startups, from anywhere in the world, which are ready to shape the future of travel. This is a big highlight for our upcoming FutureTravel Summit – it’s an opportunity to shine the spotlight on 10 startups who are ready to innovate the industry, and to connect them with decision makers and industry leaders from all around the world during the event. Apart from that, the winner will get a prize package worth $56,000 on top of valuable feedback from top investors! The application phase will be open until August 19th.

Apply for the Pitch Competition

If you are not an early-stage startup, this probably didn’t sound as amazing to you as it did to those founders, I know. But I bet you would love the opportunity to share the stage with speakers like the Director of Innovation, Education and Investments at UNWTO, the CEO of Barceló Group and the SVP Operations & Head of Business Transformation at Radisson Hotel Group. Not bad, right?

We have been receiving amazing applications from travel professionals from all over the world to join our agenda and we are so proud of what we are building with this event. Are you ready to bring your insights to the stage during this year’s FutureTravel Summit? You can submit your speaker application through this link. Also: we will announce the full event agenda in the upcoming weeks – stay tuned.

Now let’s head to our weekly curation of the top news on travel innovation, trends and startups:

  • Flight subscriptions are taking off. We all want to jet off and get back to exploring all this world has to offer, and it’s getting more financially-friendly to do so. Barcelona-based Caravelo, a startup that’s pioneering flight subscription and revenue optimization models for airlines, has just picked up a €3 million funding boost. The company is flying high, expecting a 4x growth by the end of 2022. Flight subscriptions are good for airlines and travellers – it makes booking that trip all the more appealing and also gives providers a steady stream of income – win-win and a big plus for fintech innovation in the travel sector.
  • Hospitality businesses now have a level playing field in the google review game. Amid growing labour shortages in the hospitality sector and increased customer demands, achieving customer excellence is getting tricky for lots of businesses. At the same time, leaving reviews on our experiences is a growing pastime and for most of us, checking out Google reviews is a must-do before deciding on a restaurant, bar, hotel and so on. Helping businesses in the hospitality industry optimise how people experience their visit and activate staff on-the-spot to provide better attention to guests, Dutch startup Viqal has now raised €500k in pre-seed funding. The startup has developed a tech powered by acoustic smart sensors and AI that analyses customer experience in real-time, giving instantaneous and actionable info to employees.
  • Digital marketplaces are bringing real-life experiences – and they’re skyrocketing. As British startup Holibob announces a $12 million Series A round, it’s clear that digitalisation of travel is fueling a renaissance of in-person, real-life experiences. The travel industry perhaps perfectly emulates how tech can enhance real-life, rather than take away from it. The startup’s tours and attractions digital marketplace enables companies in the industry to connect the right products with the right travellers at the right time. It’s been successfully driving growth for partners like Amadeus, KAYAK and Secret Escapes. This funding comes after the firm acquired TourismSolved in April and reported a 6-fold growth in the past 6 months.
  • Dubai-based Swvl is taking on the shared mobility sector with its latest acquisition. Across the world, there’s a diverse array of mobility platforms and services – all underpinning an aim to offer smart, affordable and accessible transport to the masses. Marking itself as a global leader in the space, Dubai’s transit tech specialist Swvl has announced plans to acquire Mexican shared mobility platform Urbvan Mobility. This will be the 6th acquisition for the company in the past year – after picking up smart bus platform Zeelo and Volt Lines in April as well as European mobility platform Door2Door.