Hotelbeds and Wayra, Telefonica’s Open Innovation Hub, have formed a partnership to establish the TravelTech Lab by Hotelbeds to reshape the future of travel. The companies – leaders in their respective fields of TravelTech and innovation – will work together over the next 15 months supporting start-ups to explore innovative tech-based solutions to change the way travellers move, connect and explore.
Over the past year, Hotelbeds has undergone a transformation evolving from a bedbank to a leading B2B TravelTech company. Its ethos of reshaping the travel ecosystem has driven its partnership with Wayra.
Coinciding with the launch of the TravelTech Lab, Hotelbeds and Wayra have also launched their first start-up challenge. They want to hear from entrepreneurs with business plans to connect global travel ecosystem stakeholders and create a frictionless experience for the traveller.
Start-ups invited to join the lab can benefit from investment, including grants worth up to €40,000 from Hotelbeds to bring their ideas to life, as well as mentoring, support and business development opportunities by leaders of both companies. They will also be able to work with other like-minded innovators from physical hubs at Wayra’s HQ in central Madrid, and Hotelbeds’ head office in Palma de Mallorca.
Nicolas Huss, CEO of Hotelbeds said: “Hotelbeds and Wayra are two like-minded companies – both focused on finding the next innovation to re-shape the global travel landscape. We have seen the ecosystem changing recently and have been actively working to reduce friction across the full travel spectrum. Now, joining forces with Wayra is an exciting opportunity to accelerate these plans and cement our position as the world’s leader in TravelTech, while also supporting the next generation of tech start-ups looking to create breakthrough products, bring them to market and scale their businesses.”
Irene Gómez Luque, Telefónica Open Innovation CEO, added: “Collaborating in the creation of the TravelTech Lab by Hotelbeds is an exciting project to which we are delighted to lend all our experience in the international entrepreneurial ecosystem. Together, we will navigate the search for the most innovative start-ups in the travel and tourism sector that can create a real impact on the business and help in its digital transformation.”
Entrepreneurs are encouraged to visit the website traveltechlab.net to find out more and apply for the challenge. The application window closes on 28 March with the winners announced in May 2023. Entrepreneurs, whose projects meet the challenge, can also meet representatives from both companies on the Wayra stand at 4YFN – part of the World Mobile Congress – in Barcelona on 1 March 2023 and learn more about the challenge.