A few weeks back Ron and I had the opportunity to attend the yearly PhoCusWright conference held in Hollywood, Florida. PCW is somewhat of a legendary conference involving a massive list of interesting people from the global travel market. This event is one we have been hoping to attend for years, dating back to our Hotwire days when we were a bit too junior. Our first year did not disappoint. The team at PhoCusWright did an amazing job organizing an incredible show, and the proof was in the quality of the people in attendance.
In a bit of a trip down memory lane we had an awesome time with Hotwire folks doing incredible things, either still at Hotwire or at companies like Tripit, Room77, Limos.com, EZREZ, and Hudson Crossing. We were able to engage with folks who have already made a big splash in the travel space, many who have helped to define ecommerce for the airline, car, and hotel industries. We also were able to hang out with some others who are quickly defining the future direction of travel, like HotelTonight, Hipmunk, Jetsetter, and Google. There were a number of amazing speakers, and a personal highlight was Brian Sharples from Homeaway who talked about how maintaining focus has helped them to execute on a massive opportunity (he happens to be a fellow White Mule, how about that…).
One of the primary reasons we attended this year was to take part in the Travel Innovation Summit, a bit of a competition where companies in the travel space have 9 minutes to present their innovative product to a panel of 4 critics, a panel of 12 judges, and an audience of ~1,100 people. It was an incredible albeit nerve-wracking experience, and our fellow presenters were all very impressive. You can check out our presentation introducing the Liftopia Cloud Store, our platform that enables resort partners to use the Liftopia booking technology to power advance sales through their own websites. While we did not win, we learned a ton and got to rub elbows with people who are passionate about innovating in an industry we all love so much.
Congratulations to the winners of the Travel Innovation Summit – so many great products and presentations –
Startup Category: Hipmunk
Emerging Category: ReviewPro
Established Category: Groundlink
Social Media Category: gtrot
International Category(and Game Changer award): Evature
I have hinted at it already, but this conference is all about the people. We were fortunate to spend quality time with a ton of like-minded, good people working their assess off at a number of amazing companies. Not to mention several unreal dining experiences with some very special folks, you know who you are… We’re very excited about heading back next year.