Handicapping 2011 PhoCusWright Travel Innovation Summit

Each year, PhoCusWright presents The Travel Innovation Summit where travel technology companies showcase their latest applications for an audience of influential travel industry leaders and investors.

Old Versus New Planes

PhocusWright picked Travel’s Battle Ground as the theme for 2011′s Travel Innovation Summit. Cool – I hope they let the finalists dogfight!
Photo Credit: c.a. muller | Flickr

Last year, I handicapped the event by polling press, bloggers and the participants themselves to get an insiders perspective on the competition. The voters only identified two of the seven finalists from the 32 entries. Pretty poor guessing by the so-called experts…

This year, tying in with The PhoCusWright Conference’s theme of Travel Unleashed, I am subscribing to the wisdom of crowds and letting everyone participate in the handicapping process.

With thirty-one companies entered and demonstrations running from 9:00am to 6:00pm, the day can be a bit of a marathon. Hopefully this page will serve as a convenient quick reference for the competition (links are provided to all web sites, plus the respective Twitter accounts,) but for the overly ambitious prognosticators, links to the judges LinkedIn profiles and their company websites are also provided.

Sorry, again the temptation to introduce a parimutuel betting application was resisted. Wagering on the results of this competition is probably one of the few activities more risky than investing in the companies themselves… Anyone electing to use results from this survey as the basis for investment decisions may also want to seek professional counseling before signing any checks…

Please make your predictions and share the survey with your friends & colleagues. Let’s see who are the audience favorites and underdogs before they even hit the stage.

If you can not see the survey above, please Click Here to open the survey in a separate browser window.

For those tree-haters who prefer a printed version, here is a link to a PDF Version of the 2011 PhoCusWright Travel Innovation Summit Survey.

Please note: Voting will close at 12:15am Eastern Standard Time, Tuesday, November 15, 2011.
The participants are listed alphabetically by category.

To simplify the voting process, votes will be scored without consideration to the categories of each participant. However, once all the votes are tallied, winners in the various categories will be extrapolated from the general voting results.

A separate blog post will be published early Tuesday with the results and the odds of winning for the leading contenders in each category.

Competition Overview

Travel Innovation Summit Votes are cast based on the following criteria:

  • Technical Innovation
  • Business Model Sustainability
  • Marketplace Impact

Then, one winner is selected from each of following three categories – Each will win $15,000:

  • Startup: Companies less than 18 months old
  • Emerging: Company between 18 months and three years old
  • Established: Company is more than three years old

New this year will be three additional awards of $5,000 each for the winners in the following categories:

  • Mobile Technology
  • Social Media
  • International

Finally, also new this year, one demonstrator from the six category winners will receive The DEMO Award for the Most Game-Changing Travel Innovation. This replaces the traditional Best of Show Award.

The present field of 31 (there may be last minute additions and/or scratches) includes 10 Startup, 8 Emerging, 13 Established and 2 Alpha demonstrators. Groupize and Travolver are the two Alpha presenters this year. While not formally competing, the audience will vote their opinion of the product concept.

The Judges & Critics Circle

The judges for this year’s Travel Innovation Summit are:

Making a return appearance is the Critics Circle, tasked with providing commentary on the presentations, they do not have a vote in the ultimate outcome. This year’s Critics Circle includes:

The PhoCusWright Conference

For those who are not familiar with the PhoCusWright Travel Innovation Summit, it is held annually in conjunction with the The PhoCusWright Conference. The 2011 conference will be held in Hollywood, Florida from November 15-17, with the Travel Innovation Summit taking place all day on Tuesday, November 15.

New this year is the FREE Online Ticket that provides streaming video of The Travel Innovation Summit, Center Stage presentations, and even the workshops. As an added bonus, access to the archived video will also be available on-demand through May 31, 2012. Considering tickets for attending the three-day event in person go for $3,700, this represents an amazing opportunity to learn about the latest trends in travel technology, travel marketing and online distribution.

To register for the Free Online Ticket, Click Here.

Good luck to all the competitors – reviewing the field, I am sure all those attending the conference both personally and virtually will be seeing some new and thought provoking applications.

About Robert Cole

Robert Cole is the founder of RockCheetah, a hotel marketing strategy and travel technology consulting practice. He also authors the Views from a Corner Suite Blog and publishes the Travel Quote of the Day. Robert speaks regularly at major travel industry conferences, authors articles for leading travel industry publications, advises travel-related startups and the equity investment community. He is an evangelist for the global travel industry.