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Travel News and Trends Headlines Update on 2022-12-25

Two Airport Tech startups to watch in 2023

I’m sure that by now, you’ve all seen countless articles on the 10 or 25 predictions that will define 2023, a few of them recycled from previous years. To not fall behind, I thought long and hard on this one and could only come up with two trends and startups that I feel comfortable predicting.

AirB is a new Airport Tech startup that brings you an inflatable bed to your gate. It uses ML and AI to predict when your flight will be delayed and brings you an inflatable mattress to your gate to make your wait more bearable and to make your fellow passengers envy you. This BaaS startup launched with a Freemium model. The free version includes an uninflated mattress. Paid versions include additional features such as a manual air pump, automatic air pump, slippers, and in-flight hammock.

AirB is a new Airport Tech startup that brings you an inflatable bed to your gate.

Exraydia is a promising startup that combines two trends to watch in 2023: Airport Tech and Medical Tourism for the value-conscious traveler.

Airport Tech and Medical Tourism for the value-conscious traveler.

Growth metrics benchmarks for B2B companies

Andreessen Horowitz built out a dataset using quarterly and annual operating and financial data from hundreds of startups from 2014 through 2021. They then aggregated, standardized, and anonymized the data and benchmarked the 25th/50th/75th/90th percentiles of the most significant indicators of growth, efficiency, retention, and margins.

In the dataset, you can respond to three simple questions (vertical, sales motion, revenue scale) and you’ll find out how you’re performing at the different percentiles for various benchmarks on growth, retention, margin, sales efficiency, and business efficiency. Check here how your numbers stack up.


Aviation value chain

The global aviation value chain comprises a diverse set of sectors. Some sectors generate significant profits, while others may struggle to maintain profitability. Since 2005, McKinsey and IATA have looked at value creation across the aviation value chain to understand what drives performance and how to enhance value creation. The 2022 edition of the report examines the ways in which the pandemic affected each sector in the aviation value chain and looks at performance before, during and after the pandemic. Read more: Understanding the pandemic’s impact on the aviation value chain [PDF]

The global aviation value chain comprises a diverse set of sectors.

How Airbnb uses AI text generation models to reshape customer service

Airbnb has heavily invested in AI text generation models for its community support products, enabling many new capabilities and use cases. This article by Gavin Lee (leading AI customer support efforts at AirbnbA) discusses three of these use cases in detail.

Southwest Airlines seat-saving debate

Southwest, which handles more domestic passengers than any other US airline, has an open-seating policy. Travelers are free to pick any empty seat when they board. This can lead to high-stakes drama and tactics. Read more: Which Side of the Southwest Airlines Seat-Saving Debate Are You On?

52 Things Learned in 2022​

Great post of 52 interesting learnings in 2022. The author publishes a list of learnings annually, which is a great tradition. I’m more a fan of learnings than predictions. Among the learnings:

  • In the UK and Australia, people tend to turn left when entering a building. In the US, they turn right. It’s important to remember if you’re booking a trade show booth.
  • Older travellers use airport toilets to hear flight announcements, because acoustics are much clearer.
  • YouTuber Mr Beast employs a team of six people to make thumbnails for his videos. Thumbnails are planned before the video is shot.
  • Fees from music playing on Peloton are “a top 10 account for pretty much all major record labels right now.”
  • 37% of the world’s population, 2.9 billion people, have never used the Internet.
  • If you want a question answered on the Internet, post a wrong answer first.

Seven years walking around the world

Earlier this year, Tom Turcich and his dog Savannah completed a seven-year, 48,000-kilometer walk around the world, becoming the 10th person and 1st dog on record to do so. You can see his amazing photos on his Instagram . What now? “I want to enjoy life without walking and even traveling. I just want to be in one place and get into a rhythm.”

Three startup pitch deck mistakes that could be red flags for VC investors.

Hunter Walk is partner at Homebrew, a seed stage VC fund. They typically see 3,000+ companies in order to make 10–12 investments annually. He wrote a post on three mistakes he sees in startup decks which he thinks makes most VCs lean towards “PASS”. He recommends to:

  • Do not put an Exit slide in a seed seck
  • Focus on milestones you’ll use this funding round to achieve, not just time it buys you
  • Founder/team bios which feel deceptive

Read more: Three Startup Pitch Deck Mistakes That Are Red Flags For Venture Investors

Q3 2022 Venture Financing Report

Cooley (one of the largest law firms in Silicon Valley) released their Q3 2022 Venture Financing Report (based on their own activity), reflecting downward trends in deal count, invested capital and pre-money valuations.

  • VC financing and invested capital in Q3 2022 was the lowest since Q4 2019. VC financing went from 401 in Q1 2002, to 332 in Q2, to 298 in Q3. Invested Capital went from $24.3 billion in Q1 2002, to $16.6 billion in Q2, to $8.1 billion in Q3.
  • Downward trend in amounts raised during 2022 across all stages of financing, but it is most pronounced in later-stage deals. Changes from Q4 2021 to Q3 2022
    • Series D+ : from $10.5 billion to $2.2 billion (-78%)
    • Series C: from $3 billion to $1.1 billion (-64%)
    • Series B: from $5.3 billion to $2.1 billion (-61%)
    • Series A: from $3.5 billion to $1.8 billion (-50%)
  • Median pre-money valuations also declined during Q3 2022 at all levels of financing, with the largest decrease occurring in later-stage deals. The decline was less significant for Series A and seed deals, likely reflecting more stability in early-stage deals due to longer time horizons for exits.
    • The median pre-money valuation for Series D or later deals dropped from a record high of $3.5 billion in May 2022 to just $527 million in September 2022.
    • For Series C deals, it dropped from $502 million in June 2022 to $130 million in September 2022, the lowest since August 2020.
    • For Series B deals, it dropped from $164 million in June 2022 to $90 million in September 2022, the lowest seen since May 2020.
    • For Series A deals, it dropped from $58 million in June 2022 to $45 million in September 2022, the lowest seen since July 2021.
    • For seed deals, it decreased slightly over Q3 from $18.6 million in June 2022 to $17.6 million in September 2022. The average pre-money valuation for seed deals has remained relatively consistent since late 2021.

View the interactive visualizations on Cooley GO: Q3 2022 Venture Financing Report – Downward Trends Continue in Deal Count, Invested Capital and Pre-Money Valuations

Fundraising and M&A

  • Greek Welcome Pickups raised €5.3 million to fuel global expansion plans. The startup offers travelers personalized transfers and coordinates destination-specific sightseeing tours, all guided by a personal driver. Read more: Greece’s Welcome Pickups picks up €5.3 million
  • Amadeus invested in Spain-based Eccocar. The startup offers digital solutions for car sharing and micromobility.
  • Travel API connectivity specialist TravelgateX acquired AI chatbot specialist Quonversa, which will be used to expand capacity and streamline product selection and operations

Short-haul European flights are being phased out.

First, France announced that it would ban short-haul domestic flights. Now Belgium is following: in an effort to reduce noise and air pollution, the country will impose new taxes on older, noisier planes as well as private jets and short-haul flights. As of April 2023 taxes will not only be based on how noisy a plane is but also depend upon the number of greenhouse gases it emits during takeoff or landing. Truth is: this is only possible thanks to great rail infrastructure – so, any bets on who will be the next country to follow suit? Read more: Belgium cracks down on private jets and short-haul flights with new tax

The next must-have in hospitality.

The UK-based company Hotel Manager, a SaaS startup that participated in the FutureTravel Summit only weeks ago, has just secured over €1 million to expand its platform. Hotel Manager provides comprehensive management software for hotels. With this round, the startup aims to build on its rapid growth in user base and expand into global markets. The startup’s goal is to become a must-have tool for players in the hospitality industry by catering to travellers’ changing needs. Read more: UK-based Hotel Manager raises over €1 million to help hotels manage a new era for travel

Fashion brand joins the hospitality adventure.

The global fashion media brand ELLE is now open to receive their first guests at Maison ELLE, an elegant and intimate hotel with 25 rooms and suites, based in a premium location in Paris. The concept hotel is to be rolled out in major capital cities to provide an accessible and convenient, home-from-home in the heart of its cities, for the fashion-forward traveler, ELLE brand loyalists, and new urban followers alike. Read more: Maison ELLE Paris Etoile

The global fashion media brand ELLE is now open to receive their first guests at Maison ELLE, an elegant and intimate hotel with 25 rooms and suites, based in a premium location in Paris.

AI-based customization for travel plans.

From now on, all HolidayCheck Premium members will receive AI-generated travel plans that are customized to their unique preferences and tastes. This is the result of a partnership between HolidayCheck – the leading German-speaking OTA – and The Trip Boutique, which combines artificial intelligence with local expert knowledge to provide personalized advisory that saves travelers time and effort when planning trips. Read more: Pioneering start-ups attract top-class partners

$185 million to make hoteliers’ lives easier.

The Prague-based hotel tech startup Mews has raised $185 million. Let me state the obvious: this is a very high-funding round, which shows that investors recognize the value in creating new solutions – even during tough economic times. The solution developed by Mews is a property management system that simplifies and automates all operations for modern hoteliers. Read more: Hotel Tech Startup Mews Manages Hefty $185 Million Raise

The Prague-based hotel tech startup Mews has raised $185 million.

Holistic travel experiences.

Greek startup Welcome Pickups has raised €5.3 million to fuel its global expansion plans, for a platform that enables users to create personalized and wholesome travel experiences. The Athens-based travel tech startup offers a holistic in-destination experience, addressing the full spectrum of traveller needs – from transfers and itineraries to products that enhance their trip. Read more: Athens-based Welcome Pickups takes off with €5.3 million for its tech-based travel platform

Luxury days are here to stay.

After bringing its number of users to more than double this year, ResortPass now raised $26 million in funding to expand to more global destinations in the upcoming year. According to one of the investors, the online booking platform is “pioneering a whole new segment of the $1.5 trillion global lodging industry”. As the name suggests, the startup offers day use of luxury hotels and resorts and now counts on Gwyneth Paltrow and Jessica Alba in their team of investors.

Coworking, meeting spaces, and flights.

In collaboration with office space provider IWG, Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport has opened a new co-working and meeting space. Featuring six “fully-equipped” work areas with a capacity for more than 100 people, four meeting rooms, and an adjacent restaurant, the spaces are open to the public and can be booked for a fee. Flexible workspaces are taking over the travel industry as well, uh? Read more: Schiphol adds new co-working and meeting space

Turning data into airport insights.

Brussels Airport Company has acquired data analysis and artificial intelligence startup Jetpack. The startup is based in Belgium and has worked with Brussels Airport for several years, helping companies improve processes and speed up innovation by turning data into usable insights. Brussels Airport plans to use the data and AI to optimize and expand its services to passengers.

What’s hot in hotels?

The hotel industry has undergone much change in recent years, shaped by constantly evolving attitudes to travel, the rise of workcations, and fresh, innovative thinking. Hotel Nuggets is a monthly newsletter full of practical tips around hybrid hospitality, sharing bite-sized chunks of info about how progressive hotels are leveraging changing attitudes to work as new business opportunities, reinventing revenue management, and more in the hospitality field. It’s crafted by the folks from Surf Office, and we recommend signing up!

Combo tech solution for mobility and tourism.

Hitachi Rail launched a new technology letting passengers use QR codes to pay for all travel on trains and buses. The 360Pass mobility app launched this week in Trentino, Italy. This new platform is expected to make journeys easier for tourists visiting the region and to drive innovation by bringing together several previously disconnected features—smart ticketing, traffic flow management, and electric charging stations through one standard analytics engine. Read more: HITACHI RAIL’S ‘360PASS’ MOBILITY APP TO TRANSFORM TRAVEL IN TRENTINO

The cheapest European travel destinations.

German-based Omio just published a ranking of the best affordable European destinations to travel to so that people can still travel if the times are rough. The online travel comparison and booking website created its list of the best destinations in Europe by considering elements such as activities, transportation, food, and drinks — and spoiler alert: Spain is ranked first! Read more: The Best Travel Destinations in Europe for Travelers on a Budget

Alex Lim is a certified book reviewer and editor with over 10 years of experience in the publishing industry. He has reviewed hundreds of books for reputable magazines and websites, such as The New York Times, The Guardian, and Goodreads. Alex has a master’s degree in comparative literature from Harvard University and a PhD in literary criticism from Oxford University. He is also the author of several acclaimed books on literary theory and analysis, such as The Art of Reading and How to Write a Book Review. Alex lives in London, England with his wife and two children. You can contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Website | Twitter | Facebook

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