And the Winner Is…

Innovation has long been the harbinger of progress. Innovators have touched every facet of our lives, from electricity to penicillin to the microchip. Innovators are those who bring the future to the present via their dreams and willingness to take the risks that others often eschew. TIA honors innovation, via the TravelCom Innovator Award.

Thoughts// Last week I had the honor of being part of the 2008 TravelCom Innovator Award Selection Committee. The Travel Industry Association’s Innovator Award recognizes “those special companies whose outstanding innovations in the areas of technology, e-commerce and distribution have transformed their business and had a broad impact across the travel industry”.

On Thursday—between catching the March Madness action and a bottomless cup of coffee—I spent most of the day reviewing and “grading” this year’s submissions.

This year, the committee received nominations from 33 up-and-coming and established technology/travel companies with a wide variety of product or service offerings including the more esoteric “back end” technology products such as Simpleview CRM (formerly CVBTV) and Amadeus. The nominees also included more “consumer facing” services such as Larry the Travel Guy from Air New Zealand and Where2 GPS navigation from Avis. It’s also quite noteworthy that several of the nominees were featured on the Interactive Trend Report over the past year. They included:

  • Yapta: Allows users to bookmark airline fares, tag and share them with others
  • The popular meta airfare search engine
  • Tripit: Organizes all of your itineraries, schedules and travel plans (no matter where they were booked) into one, easy-to-read page
  • Travelocity Experience Finder: Allows consumers to plan their trip to destinations based on experiences and themes
  • Orbitz Traveler Update: Airport info hub that combines data from FAA, TSA, traffic reports, parking updates, taxi lines, flight delays, weather information and fellow traveler updates.

So who won? Well…you’d have to wait until this year’s TravelCom Conference to find out. Let’s see if I am better at picking the winners here as opposed to hoops brackets!

Comment? @travel2dot0 or email.