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What’s innovation? According to Fast Company, which just came out with its annual list of World’s Most Innovative Companies in 2014, “the belief that a product or service can radically remake an industry, change consumer habits, challenge economic assumptions.” Translated, it means companies that can make you believe that there is a whole new way of doing things.

In general, in lists of most innovative or valuable companies list by other entities, few travel brands ever make it. So we’re happy to see travel getting its rightful place in big recognitions like this one.

Fast Company says its staff spent “more than six months gathering and analyzing data and looked at thousands of enterprises.” In that list of 50 companies are six travel-related companies, which we’ve highlighted below, in order of where they ended up on the list:

  • Airbnb: According to the short profile on FC list, Airbnb surpassed 10 million stays on its platform last year, doubled its listings to 550,000 (in 192 countries), and tripled revenue to an estimated $250 million.
  • Yelp: Beyond listing, last July it launched Yelp Platform, where users can order from restaurants in 35 metro areas, and do appointment bookings for places such as hair salons, dentists’s offices, and yoga studios are coming later this year. “That helps Yelp close a loop it had long left open–and not a moment too soon.”
  • Wild China: Wild China caters to China’s new class of high-end domestic tourists, bringing to life previously inaccessible parts of the vast country. Instead of large-group packaged tours “the boutique agency takes small groups on highly customized adventures with knowledgeable guides.”
  • Tesla Motors: Tesla and CEO Elon Musk have built their first semi-affordable car, the Model S, from scratch, “through an alchemy of engineering, software, battery advancements, and vision.”
  • GoPro: The maker of hardy HD cameras and mounts, long loved by X-Gamers, “cracked mainstream culture by encouraging, distributing, and polishing users’ footage.”
  • OTG Management: With a mix of design, technology, and local flair, OTG “is rapidly reshaping the airport experience. Its terminal refreshes in New York, Chicago, Minneapolis, Orlando, Toronto, and five other markets put iPads at 80% of gate seats, the better to order from the nearby dining and bar options.”
Photo Credit: OTG's terminal refresh at Toronto airport, complete with iPads and innovative design.