Washington, D.C.—Accenture Interactive, Marriott International, and startup network 1776 launched the Travel Experience Incubator, a new program designed to discover and foster startups working on innovative technologies and solutions to improve the travel experience. The partnership between Marriott and its official partner, Accenture Interactive, along with participating startups, aims to co-create unique and inventive new experiences for travelers.
On July 17, the companies put out an open invitation for startups to apply to the Travel Experience Incubator Challenge. If selected, the travel-focused startups will be invited to participate in the incubator’s three-month program starting in September 2017 at 1776’s Crystal City Campus in Arlington, Virginia. The selected participants will receive a dedicated curriculum that draws on Marriott’s hospitality expertise, Accenture’s experts, and 1776’s global mentor network. Through the program, the startups will develop, validate, and test travel solutions using data and technology, with the goal to increase customer connectedness and enhance travel experiences. Marriott will offer mentors from its executive team to coach the startups, while Accenture will provide additional mentorship and resources focused on human-centered design and digital technologies, as well as proprietary tools to help accelerate and scale real-time solutions. At the program’s conclusion, the startups will have opportunities for paid piloting and investment.
“Now, more than ever, people want their travel to be tailored, hyper-personalized and connected,” said Julie Sweet, Accenture’s CEO—North America. “As the official Travel Experience Incubator partner with Marriott, we are uniquely positioned to collaborate and scale innovation across the startup community to create new experiences for travelers.”
“We see The Travel Experience Incubator as a terrific opportunity to fuel promising startups focused on game-changing innovation for the lodging industry. We look forward to collaborating with these independent visionaries to reveal new business opportunities and enhanced guest experiences,” said Stephanie Linnartz, global chief commercial officer at Marriott International. “Continuously innovating the guest experience from design to technology is a centerpiece of Marriott’s culture and competitive advantage.”
“We’ve seen the success that is possible when startups and corporations work together to find better technological solutions, and the Travel Experience Incubator is an exciting opportunity to accomplish that in an established and global industry,” said Evan Burfield, co-founder and CEO of 1776. “Large, forward-thinking companies, like Accenture and Marriott, are engaging successfully with startups, looking at startups as discovery arms and co-collaborators for innovation.”