Travel Tech Essentialist #32: Lost and Found

This Travel Tech Essentialist newsletter was sent on July 12 2020 to my newsletter subscribers. If you are interested in getting in your inbox my top 10 travel tech trends and stories every two weeks, you can sign up here. Thank you!

1. Brian Chesky’s predictions

According to Airbnb’s CEO, people will travel less to major tourist cities and will instead choose to visit less well-known destinations closer to home. In addition to this redistribution of travel destinations, Chesky believes that Airbnb could benefit from an increased focus on working from home: “I think more people are going to work remotely and work from home also could be work from any home”. When the founder of Airbnb talks about the future of travel, he’s also talking about the major current trends in his platform. Read more — dezeen.

2. Searches for Airbnb are at an all time high

I wrote a short post on search popularity for certain brand names on a worldwide level and also for Spain, Italy, Spain, US, Mexico and Argentina. If search term popularity is any indication, there is redistribution of market share taking place in favor of Airbnb and Booking. Searches for Airbnb have seen a particularly large surge. Not only are they now at their highest level in the las 12 months, but their growth has outpaced all other brands. Read more.

3. Travel executives share their perspectives on how the travel industry is evolving

Top executives from Kayak, Hyatt, Rosewood and others share their inside perspective on how the COVID-19 era is transforming their own businesses and the travel industry in general. Read more — Fast Company.

4. US domestic passengers surpass 750,000 for the first time in almost 4 months

On July 6, the number of passengers passing through TSA checkpoints in the US reached 755.555, the highest single day passenger throughput since March 18th. And according to FlightRadar24 data, the number of commercial flights worldwide reached more than 60.000 on July 8th, the highest level since March 21st.

5. The post-pandemic hotel

UK architecture studio The Manser Practice outlined how future hotel design could be impacted by the pandemic. Post-pandemic hotels will have no receptionists and will adopt touchless access, one-way systems and larger rooms with inbuilt gyms. We could even see the reintroduction of the paternoster — a type of lift that was popular in the first half of the 20th century. More info.

6. Five statements entrepreneurs should avoid saying when fundraising

After nearly two decades of building venture-backed startups, and having had thousands of investor meetings, Aaron Dinin offers a list of 5 statements entrepreneurs should avoid saying when meeting with investors, and why they could backfire. First is the list: “We think these numbers are conservative.” Read more.

7. Lakestar’s advice to European travel startups: more tech and product, less marketing and sales

The German-based VC firm has a new $735 million fund targeting European startups and remains bullish on travel. Lakestar has previously invested in European well-known travel startups such as Omio, GetYourGuide, and HomeToGo, as well as early stage companies like Impala and Limehome. It was also an early investor in Airbnb, Skype, and Spotify early on. Read more.

8. Deals

  • Barcelona-based travel management platform TravelPerk announced the acquisition of Albatross, a startup founded in April 2020 that offers an API for structured information on travel restrictions and local guidelines to travel applications. Info.
  • Travel startup Voya, a leading German provider of online business travel management for small and medium-sized businesses, has been acquired by Volkswagen Financial Services. Info.
  • French travel insurance startup Koala raised €1.6 million in seed funding, in a round led by Insurtech Gateway, an incubator and fund specializing in the insurtech arena. Info.
  • Indian co-living startup Zolo raised $56 million in series C round of funding led by Investcorp and Nexus Ventures Partners. Zolo has raised $90 million to date. Info.
  • New York startup SevenRooms raises Another $50M for its guest experience hospitality management platform for restaurants and hotels. Brings the total funding raised to date to $72M. Info.

9. Startups

  • Wishbox is an Israeli startup focused on digitizing the guest experience in hotels, hostels and vacation rentals, from initial booking until post check-out. Wishbox is making an exclusive offer of 2 free months to Travel Tech Essentialist subscribers. Offer limited to the first 20 companies that sign up on this link. I highly recommend that you take a look at how Wishbox is helping thousands of hospitality clients in digitizing the guest experience, generate ancillary revenue and improve branding.
  • Japanese startup WHILL ‘s mission is to change the perception of mobility devices such as wheelchairs and scooters through advanced technology and smart design. It currently launched a trial with three devices which replace push wheelchairs at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport.
  • Mallorca-based PayPark founded in 2020, is a B2B electronic payments platform that has been specifically designed for the travel industry. It helps travel companies pay and receive payments instantly via e-wallets, with cost savings of around 3% per booking. Works independently from credit/debit card networks.

10. Upcoming webinars

  • How is the coronavirus affecting private equity investments in the travel and leisure sector? Bain & Company. Video.
  • July 14. In-flight Experience. The Points Guy. Info.
  • Jul 15. New Reality With … Peter Kern, Expedia Group. Phocuswire. Info.
  • July 16. Loyalty. Skift. Info.
  • July 23. Online Travel Landscape Skift. Info.



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Mauricio Prieto

Entrepreneur, technology consultant, startup advisor, digital transformation. eDreams cofounder, former CMO