The Lisbon Tourism Summit (LTS), organized by Beta-i and sponsored by Turismo de Portugal, will take place on Sep 30th and goes fully online. The 2020 edition focuses on a more sustainable approach on the tourism sector, “a segment that more than ever requires deepening in strategic themes such as circular economy, mobility, artificial intelligence and energy efficiency so that it is possible to actually talk about sustainability“, emphasizes Gonçalo Faria, one of Beta-i’s Innovation Programs director.
LTS counts on the participation of several national and international speakers, with the emphasis on the sustainability designer, sociologist and businesswoman, Leyla Acaroglu. Awarded as Champion of the Earth by the United Nations, Leyla is also author of several books and TED Talks. Check what she has to say as, in her own words, a sustainability provocateur:
The Lisbon Tourism Summit is an integral part of Turismo de Portugal’s innovation strategy to manage the growth of this industry in the country over the past few years. Beta-i is a strategic partner in this because, in addition to LTS, it also organizes The Journey – an open innovation program that facilitates collaboration between leading companies in the tourism industry (such as Grupo Barraqueiro, Vila Galé, Parques de Sintra – Monte da Lua and Unicre) with technological solutions from startups around the world. The results of its latest edition will be presented within the LTS: there will be more than a dozen project presentations, involving startups from Europe and Asia.
The Open Innovation programs The Journey and Protechting achieved major pilot results – involving 23 startups from 15 countries, in three continents – to develop new solutions on Tourism, Fintech, Insurtech and Healthtech businesses
The crucial moment for establishing collaborative processes between corporates and startups, within Open Innovation programs, is unquestionably the Bootcamp. Under the method implemented by Beta-i over the years (and it’s been a decade!), Bootcamps are the turning point of every program, as the people behind the needs of organizations and the solutions brought by startups meet one on one, to develop something new – and collectively get achievable results.
The latest Beta-i Bootcamps on Tourism (The Journey) and the Fintech, Healthtech and Insurtech triad (Protechting) are a robust example of this process, with 29 pilots going to be considered and developed from 23 startups of 15 countries to impact both B2B and B2C fronts.
The Journey: innovation in Tourism
This Open Innovation program deals with one of the most interconnected industries of the contemporary era: Tourism, a gigantic cluster that generates economic, social and even identity consequences for the destinations visited. Goes without saying that the Tourism sector has been booming in Portugal for years in a row, and that’s why this Open Innovation program has been connecting key players in the Portuguese market with innovators from all over the world. “The Tourism Industry is one of the most competitive ones, and we must build everyday solutions and new services to our customers while envisioning the future,” explains Sergio Guerreiro, Senior Director Knowledge Management & Innovation from Turismo de Portugal, one of the organizations investing in the program alongside Barraqueiro Group, Parques de Sintra – Monte da Lua and Vila Galé Hotels (in addition to Unicre, a key payment solutions provider in the country that participates as a Data Partner).
Every innovator deserves a break: The Journey participants on a hop-on hop-off bus and boat
In its 4th edition, the program investigated and selected startups able to tackle Hospitality, Parks & Monuments and Tours & Activities pain points shared by our clients, then linked to themes such as Smart Connected Operations, Seamless Traveler Journey, Customer Experience and Sustainable Development Solutions. These scouting challenges emerge a result of the needs assessments carried out by Beta-i’s expert team alongside the participant corporates teams, so the process can converge to common goals from the very beginning – and so can be explored in the Bootcamp.
The result of this concerted effort generated in the end of October the excellent result of 17 pilots, from 11 startups of 6 countries in Europe and Asia. “This number is a result of the program’s direct response to these tourism operators challenges,” says Gonçalo Faria, Open Innovation Program Director at Beta-i, who also highlights “some very interesting solutions on water and energy efficiency, aiming for a more sustainable tourism”. The results of this collaboration will be known at the end of January 2020, when The Journey comes to an end with one of the key events for tourism innovation businesses in Portugal: the Lisbon Tourism Summit 2020, focused on sustainability and organized by Beta-i, which counts with The Journey’s Demo Day on its programming: in other words, the moment when the results of these collaboratively developed pilots are presented to the stakeholders.
Protechting: tackling multiple industry challenges and geographies
Bootcamps are a special moment because, as Beta-i Senior Growth Strategist Tomás Bento recalls, “startups come in very ambitious for the program, but sometimes lack the experience to make the best win-win connections with corporates. And we believe that our contribution is fundamental to trim every potential down to the very essentials, and help them set up a bolder pitch”. And that’s exactly what happened at the Protechting bootcamp, which ended on November 21st in Lisbon, where 12 pilots were selected out of 21 different startups from 12 countries in three continents. As Beta-i’s Program Director Francisco Carvalho adds, “thanks to this collaboration, some startups were able to fully adapt their technologies, turning their initial proposals into much more fit and desirable solutions for the participant corporates”.
Shiny happy people: corporates, startups and Beta-i celebrating the closing of Protechting Bootcamp
Protechting is defiant by definition as it brings together different industries under the leadership of the same shareholder, the Chinese group Fosun – the name behind companies such as Fidelidade (Insurtech track), Luz Saúde Learning Health (Healthtech track) and the German bank Hauck & Aufhäuser (Fintech track). The process was tailored to this consortium, which in addition to different industries also operates in different geographies and has a particular involvement with China. To solve that, two groups of startups were selected: one for pilots development, and another (with more primary business models, coming from other 5 countries) for a parallel mentoring and acceleration path. “We truly believe in Open Innovation. The Protechting program gives us access to startups from around the world, and in order to accommodate both our strategic and geographic goals, we created these two groups. The pre-acceleration one is focused on bringing startups from markets where we are expanding right now, such as Mozambique and Peru” says José Villa de Freitas, Fidelidade’s marketing manager.
This strategic ambition facilitated by Protechting is reinforced by Harald Patt, CEO at Fosun Europe Innovation Hub and Managing Director of Fosun’s Wealth Department and Fintech Sector. Responsible for the Chinese group’s deal flow on startups, Patt sees the program as a concrete way to incorporate new solutions into the company portfolio. “In addition to the areas where we operate around the world, it is important to remember that we´re deeply rooted in China and we are able to generate great opportunities there.”
Bootcamps are particularly prized by Patt, since it’s the crucial moment where original ideas, created to solve people and organizations daily problem, leverage their approaches as business models. “It’s exciting. Startups with good ideas and bad pitches often turn out to present amazing solutions at the end of the pilot phase. Not to mention that this is the moment of truth, where they must prove a differentiated and scalable technology”. What was a surprise in the beginning – a global open innovation program set up all the way from Portugal – now is the new normal to him: “although central Europe is not always paying attention, the Portuguese ecosystem is very active and we are aware of this”.
Frank Borman, a retired NASA astronaut, once said: ‘exploration is really the essence of the human spirit’. Now, you don’t have to go all the way to space for exploration. There are plenty of wild and unexpected adventures made possible by a short flight. It seems like more and more people share the beliefs of Frank Borman. Nowadays, more people are traveling, going to far-away destinations, whilst seeking more immersive experiences.
More than ever, we are looking for ‘exploration’ and not just ‘holidays’. It is changing the face of the travel industry. New niches are being created, with new solutions entering the market. Three core themes driving the disruption of the industry are demand for sustainability, future traveler’s needs and innovation.
Not only have we become more aware of making our travels a lasting memory, we are also seeking to make a positive impact on the destination we travel to. The travel industry has become the largest industry worldwide, increasing our responsibility to protect and preserve the places we love to explore. Travelling is associated with a large carbon footprint and the derogation of natural and cultural heritage. As we are becoming more aware of this, travelers are starting to demand green and sustainable alternatives at every step of the journey. Now, 70% of travelers expect companies to demonstrate a commitment to preserve the natural environment. Many local and national economies rely on tourism, yet many are starting to realize the negative impact of tourism. Spain is a prime example of a country struggling with mass tourism. Forcing the nation to take constricted action to reduce the number of visitors in its most popular destinations. Thus, there are many changes being made in the industry; new regulations, innovative technologies and sustainable alternatives to combat the bad rep of traveling as an environmentally polluting activity.
The Future Traveler
Travel is about consuming experiences, and we all want a unique experience tailored to ourselves. Technology is making this possible. In turn, technology is making the needs of the future traveler more complex and higher than ever. We want more out of each experience. Each encounter on the travel needs to be unique, memorable, adventurous, effortless and personalized. The future traveler has technology at their fingertips, with access to personalized information, whenever, wherever. Before the trip, technology allows for a more seamless integration of planning tools for easy booking of hotels and add-ons tailored to your interests. During the trip, the connected traveler can easily navigate their way through the final destination and easily discover the offers around you. As a result of social media, the future traveler is seeking unique experiences, going off the trail for a killer image. It is no longer possible to satisfy the needs of the future traveler without innovating and offering tailored services to the individual.
There are many technological innovations entering the tourism industry today. Crowdsourcing sites with reviews and advice make choosing restaurants and experiences easier. The sharing economy gives rise to new options in accommodation, such as Airbnb and Couchsurfing, as well as cheaper transportation and meal offers. Online platforms are making it easier to plan your holidays. Virtual reality is making it possible to experience your holidays before you go, to get a glimpse into what you can expect. Augmented reality can be your personal tour guide, tailoring the guide to your interests instead of a generic group tour. There are countless new innovations entering the market every day, improving our travel experience throughout the journey.
It is not a coincidence, that these three areas are in fact the three core themes covered for the Lisbon Tourism Summit. The Lisbon Tourism Summit is an event dedicated to the tourism industry; its innovators, challenges, and developments. Seeking to inspire, demonstrate new solutions and bring together key players in the industry.
As a final note, I will leave you with another quote. Some food for thought. ‘The traveler sees what he sees. The tourist sees what he has come to see” – Gilbert Chesterton.