Now in its fourth edition, The Journey returns to help disrupt the tourism industry, especially in demanding and urgent times like 2021.
The Journey – innovation for tourism
As every sector, Tourism has always had to adapt to external variables. The year of 2020 in particular, due to the covid-19 pandemic, has proven that adapting to challenges is key for the success and sustainability of the whole sector.
Taking Portugal’s case, tourism represents the sector with the largest economic export activity in the country – accounting in 2019 for 52.3% of services exports and 19.7% of the total exports, and tourism revenues contributing 8.7% to the Portuguese GDP. This reveals its innovation and strategy to be even more crucial.
Following the lead, The Journey program rises once again to its fourth edition, to find the most innovative solutions for the sector, focusing on its recovery and revamping.
This edition is 100% online, yet gathering international startups and the program’s partners to collaborate together into developing pilot projects that will be all about rapid test and implementation. These Pilots should be solving challenges felt in Hospitality, Parks & Monuments, Tours & Activities and Payments. This means that startups from all industries can take part in this innovation journey, given that the most varied technology will be creating positive impact.
The good news is that the Top 14 startups were already chosen for the bootcamp, where they will explore and establish pilot projects between them and partners. Here are the mighty fourteen:
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”.
Word-playing aside, the Journey is now on it’s third edition, a brand new marathon of pilot projects on the making to disrupt the tourism industry.
For all the startups that want to take their chance to apply to this open innovation program, these are the brave partners that are following the path of innovation, with Turismo de Portugal as the main enabler and Unicre as the program’s data partner.
Completing the list, here are the ones more than ready to work side by side for pilot development:
1. Parques de Sintra – Monte da Lua
In order to understand Parques de Sintra – Monte da lua, one needs to understand a bit of Sintra: we are talking about a mysterious mountain (the Serra de Sintra, also known as Monte da Lua) that includes the exquisite village with the same name – Sintra – as well as astonishingly beautiful and unique parks and monuments, part of UNESCO world heritage.
Following this UNESCO classification of the Sintra Cultural Landscape is 1995, Parques de Sintra was then created in the year 2000 to manage and optimize the area’s monuments, parks and properties.
— > The Journey you could take with this partner: Parques de Sintra – Monte da Lua joined this year as a program partner and would like to solve several challenges such as management of visitor flows, visitor counting and tracking systems, outdoor and indoor geolocation, fauna and flora identification, among several others. The idea is to optimize the experience of every visit.
Barraqueiro is a rerun partner for this edition of The Journey. Established as an international player and a leader in the Iberian transport sector, Grupo Barraqueiro is an experienced company founded in 1915. Constantly looking to evolve, it specializes in the design and implementation of innovative passenger and freight mobility solutions, in a sustainable way.
— > The Journey you could take with this partner: From finding smarter, safer and easier ticketing systems, to tracking and optimizing routes to reduce points of friction and tourism pressure, there is a lot to work with Barraqueiro, as these are a few examples. The purpose is to truly innovate the way of work, enhancing the customer experience and smoothing the business.
3. Vila Galé
Also partnering with The Journey for the first time, Vila Galé appears as one of the largest Portuguese hotel groups, managing 34 hotel units (25 in Portugal and nine in Brazil). Envisioning to be a benchmark company in the hospitality industry, the group also aspires to an economic growth that is sustainable, as well as socially and environmentally responsible.
— > The Journey you could take with this partner: As the creator of a disruptive solution, you could be helping Vila Galé to optimize energy and water consumption, predict maintenance for buildings or even bring out a brand new domotics system, among several other ways in which a hotel can be much more than that and add value to the whole touristic experience.
The second edition of The Journey is in full throttle!
Brought to you by Turismo de Portugal and fully dedicated to the development of innovation in the Tourism Industry, The Journey is a 3-month program with a global reach. It aims to bring startups dedicated to solving problems in the industry to work alongside Turismo de Portugal and local industry players: Grupo Barraqueiro, Geostar, Pestana Hotel Group, SATA Azores Airlines and NOS.
This second edition is focusing on four big key points:
Personalizing the customer journey
Creating a seamless traveling experience
Improve customer care
Promote conscious travelling
As an important growing industry, tourism is perfectly positioned to create the right conditions for startups and innovation to thrive in Portugal, as pointed out by the president of Turismo de Portugal, Luís Araújo.
“The idea for this project, once again organized by Beta-i, is to reinforce Portugal’s positioning as an entrepreneurship and experimentation platform for startups. At a moment when the digital world both consolidates and conditions the sector’s sustainability, Turismo de Portugal keeps focused on creating a friendly environment for innovation, through several initiatives to support entrepreneurship.”
The bootcamp, which took place last week, gathered 20 selected startups from around the world. Beta-i gave the startups the tools they needed to prepare a business case adapted to the needs of the partners and pilot case plan of action. The week included presentations, workshops and a round of speed-dating (one on one meetings with the corporate partners), motivational talks and sharing of alumni experiences.
These are the 14 startups that are conducting pilot-projects with The Journey’s partners.This exciting phase will develop over the next two months, with the final results being presented on november 20th, at Lisbon Tourism Summit.
Get to know them:
[item title=”aPieceof.me”]A platform to find unique souvenirs and sustain local commerce and trades
[item title=”Omikuji”] Omikuji is a Software as a Service company committed to democratize the use of Big Data and Advanced Analytics solutions within small, medium and big-size business based on cutting-edge cloud based technology and custom-made data science.
[item title=”Social CxN”]SocialCxN is an automated Influencer Marketing Platform that was designed and developed to make the influencer marketing industry more transparent, collaborative, and efficient for both Brands & Influencers.
[item title=”Timescenery”]Timescenery is a social trip planner and marketplace, making trip planning frictionless and social, especially for multi-leg itineraries, such as road trips, city hopping, business travel or any kinds of trips with busy schedule, including different places to visit and logistics.
[item title=”Venture With Impact”]Venture with Impact brings working professionals to cities abroad in groups of 20 or less. Venturers are provided with living accommodations, workspace, 24-hour support and culturally immersive activities for a period of one month. Venture with Impact participants are matched with an NGO or social business to work on a project that aligns with their professional skills, interests and remote work schedule.
[item title=”Wall-i”]Wall-I.TV is the most advanced cloud-based Digital Signage OS, able to provide segmented content for the audience consuming the information and versatile enough to be adaptable to the presentation of contents within different context requirements.