Why the white label option is key for travel startups
So what do you hope to see when 30 eager innovators take to a stage to share their passions?
Well, obviously, the audience sits waiting expectantly for the one that resonates most. At the annual Travel Innovation Summit, in the startup category, there were many fan favorites. But for many, one of those that stood out was TripLingo.
Why? A few reasons.
You had me at white label
While I know there are many competitors in this space – even free – none of them (please comment below if I’ve missed any) have done a great job of articulating a viable enterprise offering.
In this industry, it seems a white labeled version could make it an interesting differentiator for any potential travel partner that provides tools, technology or services in the corporate travel segment.
And while a significantly overlooked feature as a part of the big picture, the local culture and etiquette section could be a big selling point to corporations in addition to the obvious benefits of translation.
After giving it more thought, it seems the best part is, in a global organization, employees don’t even need to be physically traveling for the app to add value.
Whether teleconferencing or even just hosting global customers from other regions locally, there is value for all employees to have easily available, reliable and consistent information on everything from proper greeting etiquette to what attire or topics of conversation are most appropriate in each scenario.
Today, when customers visit I always search to find out if there are any colors I should avoid wearing if they represent something negative in their culture, or if they won’t feel comfortable discussing business topics before building personal rapport, etc.
That’s too important of a detail to leave up to the variability of individual employee search habits.
And when a mistake like that can start a business negotiation off on the wrong foot, it’s not only a worthy investment, but an extremely important one for any corporation to have accurate, consistent information universally available to employees.
That’s an opportunity.
The next question TripLingo will need to answer for corporations or their TMCs will be related to how it can not only be white-labeled, but also act as a service that can be seamlessly integrated with mobile tools they provision to their travelers.
Making the impossible possible
Beyond that, what I hadn’t seen all day was something that actually opened up new, not previously possible opportunities for leisure travelers.
This week we have witnessed innovation in filtering, personalization and many other areas that can result in discovery of exciting new adventures for travelers to book prior, but experience during the trip.
Instead, this tool indirectly does something even more powerful – it opens up the door in real-time to rich, relationship-based experiences throughout your journey that you weren’t capable of making happen without it.
And breaking down those language barriers naturally could lead to even more new opportunities, relationships and the one thing we take with us forever – memories.
Yet another item for which a small fee seems more than justifiable.
There’s something to be said for simplicity
TripLingo again may have a battle with others to make the product really fly, but no one I’ve seen has created as clean of an interface or as clear of a value proposition to target potential travel partnerships in this category.
Those two components leave the last and most important left to be determined: accuracy of content.
Only usage, testing and time will tell whether or not TripLingo has the horsepower and translation accuracy behind it to support what will be required by demanding users.
But if it does, I think we’ll be hearing from them again… possibly in “Slang Pirate” (yes, that’s one of the 14 languages offered)… but, nevertheless, again.
Sarah Kennedy Ellis is a contributing Node to Tnooz and director of Sabre Labs, a dedicated emerging technology incubator and trends research lab at Sabre Holdings.
At Sabre since 2007, Sarah has spent time working in a variety of divisions including everything from strategy and product development to social media marketing and R&D.
She was selected as one of the first members of PhoCusWright's inaugural "Class of 35" in 2009, recognizing the top 35 young leaders under the age of 35 in travel.
She also is invited to speak at a variety of technology conferences & industry events each year on topics including emerging technology and innovation management.
The views expressed by Sarah on Tnooz are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Sabre Holdings, its partners, customers or subsidiaries.