TravelTech Lab is the Innovation Lab of Hotelbeds, powered by Wayra
What do we do?
We co-innovate with start-ups partners to deliver high-impact, customer-centric experiences, creating breakthrough products, platforms and services.
In a collaborative environment, it’s all about exploring new horizons, designing solutions, and testing, to help future-proof our business and drive digital transformation.
Life at the hub
TravelTech Lab Hub in Palma celebrated the first edition of OktoberTech. The event featured two days of dynamic discussions on AI, data management, and tech innovation, in collaboration with Tableau and Snowflake. Prominent experts gathered to explore topics such as Generative AI, tech in customer service, and data optimization for enhanced customer experiences. TravelTech Lab remains committed to bringing the latest innovations to the Balearic Islands and positioning them as a global innovation hub. The event was a resounding success, with valuable insights shared and networking opportunities, all while enjoying the spirit of the German festival.
Our second "Meet the Entrepreneur" event at the TravelTech Lab Hub in Madrid featured a conversation with Emilio Galan, CEO from BEONx.
BEONx is an innovative tech company, specializing in consolidating data into a single platform for revenue discovery. Emilio discussed the journey of BEONx, highlighting its evolution from astrophysics and computer engineering backgrounds to the concept of Sustainable Profitability, which uses AI for holistic guest experiences and ESG principles. He emphasized fostering a culture of innovation, discussed international expansion challenges and strategies, and shared his positive entrepreneurial mindset.
Startups in the audience took the opportunity to seek advice from Emilio. They inquired about tips for entrepreneurship, product development, potential challenges, and obstacles they may face on their entrepreneurial paths.
The "Meet the Entrepreneur" event once again brought together innovators, visionaries, and those passionate about the evolving landscape of technology and entrepreneurship.
From September 12th to 14th, our TravelTech Lab Hub in Palma was home to the first Internal Innovation Design Sprint involving employees from different parts of the business.
Over the course of 2 and a half days, a multidisciplinary team developed the first prototype from among more than 50 ideas that had been submitted by employees.
On the final day, the prototype was presented to some of our valued clients who provided excellent feedback. To close the event, we shared a moment with our internal teams and clients to reflect on the success of the pilot.
At TravelTech Lab in Palma de Mallorca, we proudly hosted the "Global Trends in the Tourism Sector" event in collaboration with the WTTC and HBX Group. This dynamic gathering celebrated the thriving global tourism landscape, with notable insights shared by distinguished speakers, including Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, and Hotelbeds' CEO Nicolas Huss.The event highlighted the shift from corporate to leisure travel, with leisure travel now constituting a significant 88% of spending in Spain. As champions of innovation, we are committed to sustainable travel, personalized experiences, and the fusion of business and leisure trips, all driven by cutting-edge technology. This event provided a platform for meaningful discussions about the future of Travel & Tourism, fostering collaboration and growth in the industry.
In July, the TravelTech Lab held an event joining HBX Group leadership team with students who had taken part in our hackathons over the last year. The students presented their innovative ideas, including solutions around data-driven influencer marketing to improve traveler experiences. A panel discussion between HBX and the students on the experience of hackathons and working so closely with students was very inspiring. It is amazing to see the magic that happens when you mix the next generation of students with a challenge, a time limit and support to unleash their imaginations!
Last week, travel and technology industry leaders gathered at Hotelbeds’ innovation hub, the TravelTech Lab, to hear “The business opportunity of generative AI: Chat GPT case” by Julio Rilo Blanco, CEO Inixa Tech Consultancy, in collaboration with Universitat de les Illes Balears and the Cercle d'Economia de Mallorca.
The key takeaways included:
- Benefits include automation, enhanced personalisation for customers, increased innovation opportunities, and advanced data analytics
- How virtual and augmented reality can be complementary to travellers for bookings, security and in-destination experiences
- The challenges we face involve managing risk, information bias, critical judgement and increased inequality
There’s no denying that Generative AI is disrupting the industry and creating opportunities, but it must be taken advantage of with a strong understanding of the technology behind it through strategic planning and implementing appropriate measures to protect the data and privacy of users.
Our first "Meet the Entrepreneur" event took place in our TravelTech Lab Hub in Madrid, where David Hernández, CEO at Pangea, shared his personal experiences as a traveltech entrepreneur.
Pangea is a success case however, it wasn’t an easy ride! They experienced multiple adversities, including difficulty to secure funding, initial ideas which failed to work but which ultimately helped them to improve their product and finally COVID, where all travel came to a halt however it helped Pangea to move into the online space.
Pangea’s vision was to re-create the superior physical in-store experience and exclusive product offering for their clients, similar to the successful model of Apple, but tailored to the Travel industry where customers could explore, be inspired, discover differentiated products and be guided by experts tailoring once in a lifetime experience for them. This vision appeared to go against the odds in a sector where many traditional travel agency stores were disappearing however with perseverance and a clear vision, they identified 5 key differentiators which set them apart from traditional Travel Agencies:
- Physical in-store experience where their “showrooms” expand over 1500m2
- Expert advisors with guaranteedpersonal experience in destination.
- Tailor made experiences.
- Technology to help provide the best customer experience.
- Competitive rates.
The trend that Pangea saw was that clients don't want standard packages anymore, David shared, "Pangea wants to offer a tailor-made trip, with the latest technologies, at a competitive price. We have grown steadily. Our main marketing tool in recent years has been word of mouth,”.
During this session David shared some anecdotes on the origin of Pangea "I visited Decathlon for the 1st time, and I saw the transformational model it had, and I noticed that there was nothing similar in the travel sector. So, I wanted to make the Decathlon of travel.”
Watch this space for the next entrepreneurial story!
Chief Innovation Officer, José María Pestaña said:
"I'm so excited to find out which solutions will be proposed by our different teams of students on our challenge: How to create a gamified tool that allows tourists to provide constant feedback and suggestions on their end to end sustainable travelling experience to Balearic Islands"
He continued to say:
"It is great to see the level of excitement and how by working together between companies, academic institutions and the talent of the future, we can become an inspirational and unified force for good!"
Last week, alongside Fundación Impulsa Baleares held a Press Conference to share further details of the Circular Innovation Hackathon that will be held at Hotelbeds offices from 21st – 22nd April.
Cadena Ser and IB3 came to our Innovation Hub (TravelTech Lab) and had the opportunity to interview Nicolas Huss, CEO Hotelbeds, and Carmen Planas, President Fundación Impulsa
As part of the event we will welcome 200 students to Hotelbeds’ facilities, who will be taking on the challenge over 24 hours, aiming to find innovative solutions focused on the circular economy of the Balearics based on three strategic axes and six priority areas of actions, namely; water, energy, food, materials, mobility, land and sea.
Nicholas Huss, CEO said:
‘’Collaboration between the different actors is key to bring about systemic change, create impact, increase flexibility and anticipate the problems that may arise in the transition to a circular tourism system. The I Circular Innovation Hackathon is a unique opportunity to connect actors in the regional tourism system, companies, young talent and educational entities’’.
"We are proud to support the circular economy within the Balearics to find innovative solutions to improve our communities for future generations, and as one of the Islands’ leading employers, we want to support the next generation of local talent."
Note: more information available in the T&C