Making things predictable — such as train ticket confirmations, airport security lines, mobile phone data fees, how to get from point to point, and the effect of events on hotel demand — is a theme of this batch of startups.
Last week we reported that Hong Kong travel technology startup Klook, which runs a website and mobile application offering up to 50 percent discounts on about 10,000 travel attractions, tours, and activities in Asia, will speed up its global roll out after raising $30 million in a Series B round, led by Sequoia Capital China.
One of the company’s early supporters was Amadeus Next, the Asia-focused arm of the travel technology giant that has incubated travel startups since 2015. Amadeus Next doesn’t invest in the startups. The Bangkok-based effort instead creates a “community” of mentors, investors, and customers, and it provides startups access to technology and solutions.
Here are five of the startups Amadeus Next has been supporting that Skift hasn’t mentioned before and that could have shots at scaling like Klook if they get more help.
BorderPass aims to help speed up the passage of business travelers who cross borders in Asia frequently by letting them “pre-clear” the immigration checkpoint before arriving at a destination. It was voted startup of the year in a pitch contest by Amadeus Next last summer. In recent months, the Malaysian-based startup installed its first automatic clearance gates at Kuala Lumpur for Malaysians who are ASEAN visa-free business travellers.
>>Skift Take: BorderPass is like a CLEAR for Asia, and given the frequency of international business travel in the region, it is a much needed solution. The company aims to add auto-gates in all major regional airports in the next few years, and there are red-tape challenges ahead as the company tries to replace paper immigration forms with biometrically verified digital profiles.
ConfirmTKT addresses a problem specific to long-distance rail in India but also relevant to visitors. Travelers in India often have to book a train ticket four months in advance to be sure their seat is confirmed. Otherwise, they’re wait-listed until a few hours before the trip. ConfirmTKT can let you know sooner if your ticket is confirmed. Founded in 2014, it received a $147,000 funding round last autumn, a doubling of previous funding.
>>Skift Take: ConfirmTKT has built a model that helps frequent local travelers, which could help it generate more volume than if it had to rely on one-off tourist visitors alone. Its app also helps plot alternative routes between two points, a tool that appears to be much more intuitive than trying to figure out the printed schedules on the walls.
12Go Asia Headquartered in Singapore with its main operation in Bangkok, 12Go Asia works on both the B2B and B2C side for online ticketing for inter-city bus, train, ferry, transfers, flights, and hotels. 12Go is operating in eight countries, so far: Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines.
>>Skift Take: Asia has complex transportation networks, and there’s an opportunity to bring aspects of the Rome2Rio, GoEuro, and CityMapper models to its travelers. 12Go says it has served half-a-million customers so far, which is impressive. But there may be hurdles ahead as the startup tries to get up-to-date data from some old-school transportation suppliers in real-time feeds.
PredictHQ is a global events intelligence platform. Founded in 2014, the Auckland-based startup has built a tool for hotels, and other companies to predict what events, such as concerts or sports matches, may have on their business by analyzing aggregated scheduled and real-time event data.
>>Skift Take: PredictHQ’s data can be fed into calendars, and even maps, via the API that comes with the platform. But many hotels and other travel companies lack imagination about how this data could help their business and their customers. There is still more marketing work to be done, assuming the predictions are accurate.
Trendi Travel Mate provides hotels with smartphones that guests can use during the trip and avoid Internet data costs. Founded in October 2015 under Zuger International, Trendi offers guests information and promotions on hotel and local offerings.
>>Skift Take: The model has promise, but Tink Labs is racing ahead with its Handy smartphone in many markets. Trendi will have to move faster.
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Photo credit: In Bali in August 2016, Amadeus held a customer event where startups it is incubating pitched industry professionals on their concepts. Amadeus Next