Thursday, February 12, 2009

All quiet at the Travel Technology Show

What struck me most from a day spent wandering around the stalls at the travel technology show was how quiet it felt compared to last year.  Still, I managed to speak to loads of interesting people and found out about a couple of interesting projects.

Most interesting find: a hugely ambitious project that is the result of years of mathematical research.  The site appears to build itenaries on the fly from a database of visitor attractions (sourced from Lonely Planet) and accommodation (sourced from  You put in your starting point, tell them whether you want a one way trip or round trip and how long and it builds a detailed daily itenerary.  It even offers an array of sliding bars to indicate your interest in topics like history, art, nature etc. and ammends the itenerary accordingly.  If it works well I can really see this site being a success, but they set very high expectations in their users and the challenge will be in not letting them down.

Most interesting observation:  Talking to Alex Bainbridge at the TourCMS stand, a chap came round with a bunch of quotes for booking systems that varied from 6 figure sums down to £50 per month for TourCMS.  Makes you realise there is still a lot of fat in the travel technology industry.  One assumes the more expensive options offer more functionality in some way but then TourCMS is hardly light on functionality.  The Software as a service model (SAAS) is clearly the future - and there must be plenty of disruption to come in this industry.

Most amusing sight:
After an insigtful presentation on building a startup Hugo Burge was swamped by startups wanting to chat.  A faint plea of "I'm not looking for investments" was the last thing I heard. Seriously though, Hugo made a strong case for bootstrapping and minimising investment in the early days, citing examples of startups who are distracted by both the funding process and the investment.  I do agree, but still think that having investment and 'name' backers can help a lot in getting the press to take you seriously - and press is rather important for start-ups.

The best bit of all:
The best bit had to be the opportunity to chat with interesting people.  At one point I was sat at a table with a bunch of other startups: Sally from, Jared from and James Dunford Wood from  Later on there was bunch of bloggers hanging out at the TourCMS stand: Alex Bainbridge,  Kevin May, Guillame Thevenot, Edd McArdle and myself albeit slightly out of place.  Which made it worth the train journey alone.

By the way if you're interested all of the above people are on twitter if you want to follow them:

1 comment:

Jared Salter said...

I agree the show was a little dead. Just be thankful you were there just 1 day instead of 2 (like me). Always great to catch up with you. See you in Berlin.