PhoCusWright Travel Innovation Summit Bingo

Each year, the PhoCusWright Travel Innovation Summit amasses thirty contestants, each with an opportunity to spend 11 1/2 minutes onstage and pitch their product to an audience of travel industry investors, journos, potential competitors, and the simply curious.

Braveheart Bingo Caller - Photo Credit: sandwichgirl (cc|flickr)

If Travel Innovation Summit Bingo catches on, next year we might be able to hire this guy to officiate…
Photo Credit: sandwichgirl (cc|flickr)

The diversity of products and varied backgrounds of the presenters is wide-ranging. The quality of the demonstrations can be equally varied.

In the past some very interesting products have been inadvertently undermined by an incoherent narrative or ineffective presentation skills. Similarly, some questionably viable products have wowed audiences with slick presentations.

The session, spanning six hours end-to-end, can get grueling. A barrage of thirty demonstrations, sequenced in waves of ten, are interrupted only by lunch, and a single afternoon break.

A portion of the time is allocated for a panel of experts to offer commentary on the merits or shortcomings of the product or demonstration.

If only there was something fun to do for all the ADHD travel industry marketing and technology types to pass the time…

Even better if the form of entertainment still required paying attention to what the presenters were saying…

In the interest of providing a public service, I respectfully introduce:

2013 PhoCusWright Travel Innovation Summit Bingo

As an alternative, if you would prefer to download a PDF copy of the Bingo card, click here: 2013 PhoCusWright Travel Innovation Summit Bingo Card.

Note: If you don’t like the combination of phrases on the card, wait a couple minutes and reload this page. An updated card including a variety of new terms should appear. The cards are dynamically generated from a list of over 100 buzzwords. The PDF version is also created on the fly.

The rules for TIS Bingo are simple – each time a specific phrase is uttered during a session, mark it off the card. The first person to get five in a horizontal, vertical or diagonal row wins. The “AWESOME” square in the middle is a free space, as it is assumed that term will be used in every presentation.

While not wanting to pass judgement on those who may want to play under strict or lenient rules, words and phrases prefixed, suffixed, featuring related tenses, conjugations or forms may certainly be permitted as matches.

In one minor variation from standard Bingo rules, in deference to those on stage, TIS Bingo players should refrain from screaming “Bingo!” in the ballroom. Instead, proclaim your accomplishment using the hashtag #TISBingo on your social media platform of choice.

Also, if you believe there should be additional words or terms added to the list, please do not hesitate to recommend them. Use the #TISBingo hashtag on Twitter for speediest results.

Potential Variations Are Unlimited

Feel free to enlist your friends and make up your own rules.

For those lacking elderly ancestors expert at Bingo, here is a quick synopsis of alternative patterns that may be mutually agreed upon IN ADVANCE to determine the winning card:

Bingo Pattern Variations

  • The letters C, E, F, L, N, O, T, U, X, Y & Z (L’s can be in any orientation)
  • Postage Stamp (four adjacent squares in any corner) – Includes double, triple & quadruple (cloverleaf) variations
  • Four Corners (and Inside Four Corners – adjacent to the center square)
  • Plus Sign (large & small)
  • Blackout (all squares)
  • Diamond (inside & outside)
  • Picture Frame (inside or outside)
  • Railroad Tracks (parallel lines with an empty row between)
  • Six or Nine Pack (adjacent squares forming a rectangle)
  • Kite – combining the Postage Stamp and Diagonal (any direction)

(Full credit to my Polish Grandmother-in-law who played with five cards simultaneously)

Another option for play is to forget about those demonstrating at the Travel Innovation Summit and pick on the experts instead by extending the competition to include the Center Stage sessions on Wednesday and Thursday.

It is always fun to see if expert panelists, talkbackers, PhoCusWright analysts or CEO’s of publicly traded companies (constrained by SEC rules governing the release of non-public information) resort to buzzwords in their professionally groomed remarks.

For the truly adventurous – especially those who want to score Bingo’s with mind-numbing haste, before a cocktail reception, casually let it slip that you are the decision maker for a new investment group interested in angel-stage investments ranging from $1,000,000 to $2,500,000 for a select group of innovative travel startups.

Of course, if your jaded, cynical self can’t stand to listen to the speakers, you can easily turn your Bingo card into a Travel Innovation Summit Word Game. Just make up your own fictional product and try to describe it by incorporating all 25 words into the description.

Invite a colleague for some friendly competition. Whoever can create a description using the fewest total number of words wins!

Some Background on the Event

For those unfamiliar with the Travel Innovation Summit, participants pay between $13,000 & $16,000 (which includes two 3-day passes to the full PhoCusWright Conference) each to demonstrate.

Each entry has eight minutes to demonstrate their innovation on stage. Each demonstration is followed by a 2 1/2 minute panel critique and a one-minute rebuttal by the demonstrator.

At stake, in addition to the audience exposure and adulation from Travel Innovation Summit groupies, are a variety of awards are presented:

  • The Brand USA Marketing Innovation Award – for the best innovation related to tourism marketing
  • The General Catalyst Award for Travel Innovation – a $250,000 convertible bridge loan to a company less than three years old, currently in the process of raising capital and not yet having raised more than $1 million to date
  • Winner and Runner-up for each of the three maturity categories
  • Winner and Runner-up in the Startup category (Less than 18 months old)
  • Winner and Runner-up in the Emerging category (18-36 months old)
  • Winner and Runner-up in the Established category (3+ years old)
  • Best Business to Consumer innovation
  • Best Business to Business innovation
  • People’s Choice (Audience-voted award)

There is no formal award presentation to the TIS Bingo winner. Heartfelt congratulations may be extended at the cocktail reception following the sessions.

The Critics Circle, panelists responsible for providing feedback after every presentation are:

  • Miriam Moscovici, Director, Emerging Technologies, BCD Travel
  • Evan Konwiser, Entrepreneur/Advisor/Consultant, Independent Consultant
  • Erik Blachford, Venture Partner, Technology Crossover Ventures

Participants are scored on the level of technical innovation, business value and potential marketplace impact by a panel of judges. This year’s group include:

  • Bill Bailey, Vice President, Corporate and Business Development, TripAdvisor
  • Gregg Brockway, Co-Founder and former EVP and General Manager, TripIt
  • Bill Carroll, Senior Lecturer, School of Hotel Administration, Cornell University
  • Fritz Demopoulos, Co-Founder, Qunar and Managing Director, Queen’s Road Capital
  • Glenn Fogel, Head of Worldwide Strategy and Planning and EVP, Corporate Development, Inc.
  • Eric Hart, Vice President, Corporate Development, Expedia Inc.
  • Chris Hemmeter, Managing Director, Thayer Ventures
  • Jim Hornthal, Chairman, Triporati and Former CEO, Preview Travel
  • Ellen Keszler, President and CEO, Clear Sky Associates
  • Debu Purkayastha, Principal, New Business Development, Google Inc.
  • Diego Saez-Gil, CEO, WeHostels
  • Tim Stanley, SVP of Enterprise Strategy and Cloud Innovation,
  • Ned Williams, Partner, Brook Venture Fund

The Combatants
This years list of demonstrators again represents a diverse group of hopefuls dreaming of more than 11.5 minutes of fame:

In the rare event of flight delays, cessation of operations, stage fright, or poisoning at the hand of competitors, four alternates are eagerly waiting in the wings for their opportunity to wow the crowd:

Flights With Friends,, OLSET, Routehappy and SafelyStay were all recipients of Travel Innovation Summit scholarships that helped defray the cost of participation.

You Must Not Be Present To Play

Best of all, because the PhoCusWright Conference is streamed live, everyone at home can play Travel Innovation Summit Bingo! Get access here: PhocusWright Online Ticket 2013. Again, the #TISBingo hashtag can be used to compare scores and keep up between attending and remote players.

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.