On March 17, the final of the Mitt Travel Start 2022 competition for innovative projects in the field of tourism and hospitality took place, which was held as part of the international tourism exhibition Mitt.
The competition is held for the second time by the MITT exhibition together with the Russian Union of Travel Industry (PCT ) with the support of the Travel Startups community. The partners of the competition were Amadeus, the Skolkovo Foundation, MTS, Moscow Travel Hub, Persona Grata legal agency, Cronwell Hospitality Group, Radio Travel and Aalchemy Ventures.
In his speech at the opening of the competition, the chairman of the jury, head of the PCT commission on startups, co-founder of the Travel Startups community of travel entrepreneurs, Leonid Pustov, said that technological projects no older than 5 years, having at least a prototype of the service, could take part in the competition. In total, 119 applications were received, 77 projects were selected for participation in the competition – “Among the projects, two groups stood out – services for the tours and activities segment, aimed at getting impressions for tourists on a trip, the second most popular group – services for hoteliers, solving various interaction tasks hotel with guests. 49 projects were founded from 2020 to 2022, during the COVID pandemic, so they take into account the current market specifics. Two out of three projects have a B2B focus, so they are of interest in terms of business partnerships.”
19 projects took part in the final, which were evaluated by the competition jury, consisting of experts from Amadeus, the Skolkovo Foundation, Travelline, Bnovo, Nemo, Megatek, Moscow Travel Hub, Cronwell Hospitality Group, NRU HSE and MTS Travel.
The tmatic.travel project, a platform for digital services for independent travelers, was recognized as the winner of the competition.
tmatic.travel is a platform that allows travel experts to digitize their knowledge in the form of audio guides, travel itineraries and concierge support. Finished digital products are distributed, incl. through B2B2C partners (maps, navigators, mobile operators, etc.). Egor Yakovlev, co-founder of the startup, said that the main value of the service lies in a significant reduction in the cost of travel planning and experiences in it – “We are creating a cheap digital product on the traditionally expensive analog market for tours and activities. As a result, 99% of planning and support is provided by cheap digital services, and an expensive expert is involved only when he is needed.”
The second and third places were taken by projects for business – Turfon and Hotel Antifraud.
Turfon is a mobile application for streaming audio without the Internet and mobile communications – broadcasting the guide's speech to groups of tourists. The solution turns the guide's smartphone into a transmitter, and the tourists' smartphones into receivers. “This saves the cost of renting/purchasing and maintaining radio equipment for group tours – replacing batteries, disposable headphones, shipping, setting up, distributing and collecting receivers. This solution is more hygienic than rented devices and reduces the environmental damage caused by the disposal of batteries and headphones,” said Timofey Akroev, founder and CEO of the company. The solution is applicable in the following areas: sports (sports federations, stadiums, sports clubs): broadcasting the commentator's speech to fans in the stands; international events (organizers and venues): broadcast simultaneous translation to visitors.
Hotel Antifraud is a project aimed at solving the problem of check-in “past the ticket office”. Ilya Yashin, CEO of the startup, explained in his speech – “This problem arises when unscrupulous administrators in hotels, hostels, etc. they take the money for the guest's check-in into their pocket, instead of spending it at the checkout. The hotelier will be able to save his money when he finds out that the employee is stealing from him.” The program captures the accommodation of each guest, compares the data with those that the administrator enters into the PMS, and finds unauthorized settlements. The hotelier receives an instant notification of a suspicious situation on the phone.
Winning startups received free participation in the Mitt-2023 exhibition with a stand and information support for projects throughout the year from the organizers of the Mitt exhibition.
The finalists of the competition will receive mentoring support and partnership opportunities with travel companies from the Startup Commission of the Russian Union of the Travel Industry and the Travel Startups community of travel entrepreneurs. Startups from the hospitality industry were offered the opportunity to launch a pilot project on the basis of one of the hotels of the Cronwell Management Ltd. Management Company. Finalist applications will be considered for the possibility of participating in the AAlchemy DMBA acceleration program with the participation of Deloitte Cyprus.