Sangria, tapas and… a laptop 💻☀

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Here is your weekly curation of the top news about innovation, trends and startups in the travel industry. Ready?

  • A new European destination for digital nomads. Sangria, tapas and… a laptop. Spain has become the latest country to offer a digital nomad visa and will allow remote workers to live and work in the country for up to five years. Digital nomads have become a trend in the travel industry (especially among millennials) having the freedom to work anywhere in the world. By the way, our team is currently working on a report focused on digital nomads and how different players from the travel industry can consider this niche audience in their business strategies. Stay tuned!
  • Higher prices, just in time for the holidays. Well, this shouldn’t come as a surprise , but The Walt Disney World is changing its pricing structure, since the parks have been using dynamic pricing for the past four years, fluctuating prices based on demand. They will now increase prices for the first time since the pandemic began, raising their prices by around 15%. ICYMI: We talked about dynamic pricing in one of our reports earlier this year, where we explored how trends were emerging in the attraction industry. You can check the full report here.
  • It’s that time of year again. Earlier this week Phocuswire announced its Hot 25 travel startups for the new year. As usual, it’s a mix of companies that are disrupting traditional travel and building innovative products and services in the travel space. We were excited to see some new names on their list such as NeoKe, who won the FutureTravel Pitch Competition just 2 weeks ago. If you’re looking for a way to expand your horizons, this list is a good start for the upcoming year.
  • Ready to fund travel business operations. Known for their booking and payments platform for the multi-day travel industry, US-based WeTravel now wants to support any eligible travel business by providing instant funding options to support their operations. For now, the one-time loan is only available for North American companies. With access to funding, travel businesses can pursue new opportunities, expand market reach, invest in critical business infrastructure, or grow their operations – and this is exactly what WeTravel wants to boost through their WeTravel Growth Capital initiative.
  • Fresh revenue for the lodging industry. The New York-based travel startup Hoken has raised $9 million to launch and run its fresh-off-the-press event-focused lodging marketplace. The startup’s vision is to provide a “highly curated and flexible hotel exchange and marketplace for the world’s most popular events.” Their initial kick-off will include events such as New Year’s Eve in Times Square, Sundance Film Festival, SXSW, Coachella and Art Basel.
  • Better customer experiences, thanks to new tech. Northumberland Zoo wants to revolutionise how they generate income — while also educating visitors. To make the customer experience better and gather important data, the zoo owners partnered with n-gage.io, who provided a platform that helps to transform audience experiences by providing a highly customizable, data insight-driven SaaS platform with an integrated mobile-web application. The zoo has a strong focus on making the right impressions on visitors and influencing their behaviour – and their latest project is no exception.
  • Simplifying travel refunds and changes. Around 10% of all passengers carried by airlines each year have their tickets either refunded or changed. To tackle this headache time consuming issue, Miami-based Deal Engine handles operations such as refunds and changing flights for airlines, online travel agencies and travel management companies. The startup has raised $5.3 million in seed funding to accelerate their engineering, product, sales and global expansion. Now the team can focus on “simplifying complex manual processes and saving millions of human hours each year” – exactly what AI is all about, right?
  • Can we do more with fewer staff? Just like everyone else in the industry, hoteliers are constantly looking for systems that allow them to get more done with less staff. Think Simplicity’s partnership with Cloudbeds will provide joint customers with streamlined, end-to-end solutions for property management and cloud communications. By integrating with Cloudbeds’ PMS solution, Think Simplicity will be able to offer its products and services to independent brand hotels.