Industry News

Celebrating technologies transforming the travel industry

SmartBrief is pleased to announce the winners of the inaugural Innovation Awards for the Business Traveler. These awards recognize innovative new or updated products and services that exemplify adaptability and resilience in the following categories: Business Intelligence, Travel Management, Safety and Health, In-flight Guest Experience and Hotel Guest Experience. A panel of judges evaluated each entrant on uniqueness in the market, ability to solve a problem and suitability for use.

During the last 18 months, the travel and hospitality industry has been challenged like never before, leading to the introduction of innovative products and services that provide travelers a healthy, convenient, and safe end-to-end guest experience. All 11 winners in the inaugural SmartBrief Innovation Awards for Business Travelers program scored well with our panel of judges, offering solutions to what travelers deem most important, and a select few stood out to our editorial team.

The "Editors Picks" in this guide not only scored high in their category, but provide something unique and valuable in the areas of Health & Safety, Guest Experience and Travel Management, whether an "on the go" air purifier, a contactless payment system or a personal travel assistant app. Read on for highlights of each of the finalists and more on our special Editors Picks.

The Awards Program Guide includes more product information about all the winners and nominees.

Thanks to the companies that participated and congratulations to the winners!

We're grateful to all our judges and their contributions and have asked them to share their thoughts on "Why is this Awards Program important right now?"

  • "The SmartBrief Innovation Award recognizes the top innovators in a market where both service offerings and demand for guest experience have been shifted dramatically due to COVID. The Award signals to travel industry companies which products they should consider first as they position their service standards to a market that is seeking both service and safety in new ways." - Robert Reitknecht, Hospitality & Luxury Lifestyle Brand Advisor, Keynote Speaker and Author
  • “Innovation to drive incremental revenue, operational efficiencies, guest experiences and owner return has never been more critical in our industry. To learn about new ideas, concepts and products from such brilliant minds is inspiring and energizing. The SmartBrief Innovation Program allows us to identify new opportunities to drive our companies forward and in many cases address the very different customer needs that have evolved over the past two years.” - Oliver Meinzer, Vice President of Global Operations, Digital Guest Experience, Marriott
  • "Innovation in business travel is essential now to capitalize on the growth we expect to see after the global pandemic. Just as we’ve seen a level of "revenge travel" in the leisure space, business travelers are more eager than ever for important face-to-face connections with a likely ongoing hybrid element in play. Companies that can meet this demand with innovative and differentiating solutions have the most to gain." - Anna Dalglish, VP Product Management, Hilton

Business Intelligence Software: Winners

  • Editor's Pick: 123COMPARE.ME: PriceMatching, real time Hotel vs OTA 
    • This is a great idea for the independent hotelier, as OTA's command that any rates we put out to the public via our booking engine are not less than what is published on the OTA's
  • PMG: Alli Custom Predictive Dashboard
    • This sounds like a great product. I pay close attention to the booking curve at my property, and I have learned when guests will likely be booking in stronger numbers. I believe a product like this could supplement that.

Hotel & In-Flight Guest Experience: Winners

  • Editor's Pick: United Airlines: Contactless Payment
    • A very innovative way to facilitate transactions seamlessly without having to reach for your wallet.
    • This is a great solution as more individuals seek convenient, safe, contact-free payment options during the pandemic. I expect passengers will appreciate the convenience well into the future.
  • MODIO: Guestroom Acoustic Control
    • Who hasn't stayed in a hotel room for business travel where the noise outside the room disrupted an important good night's sleep - usually when you're arriving late and need to be up and out early? The case study demonstrates clearly measurable value against the clear value proposition addressing a typical guest complaint. Most people talk about turning the fan on high to try to do what this device seems to do with much tighter control on level of noise cover.
  • Onity: Serene
    • The variety of options available in a very sleek package with an easy-to-use digital component make this a very compelling solution. The installation for hotels is much more straightforward and the user experience centered on just the handle make intuitive sense.

Travel Management: Winners

  • Editor's Pick: App in the Air: COVID Restrictions Tool
    • The app seems like a time-saver and a good way to aggregate travel details. The ability to subscribe to friends' and family's travel plans is a nice feature.
  • HRS: Green Stay Initiative: Hotel Shopping
    • HRS Green Stay Initiative is integrating a broad array of data sources to help conscientious companies and their travelers travel smarter. As business travel resumes in the coming months and years, applications like this should be integrated into travel planning as broadly as possible.
  • Corporate Travel Management: Lightning Online Booking Tool
    • Lightning brings consumer-like functionality to corporate travel customers. Travel technology is catching up to the needs of the customer at last!
  • Hotel Engine: Booking Platform
    • This product is a great solution for the individual business traveler smaller business where a TMC partnership does not have a good ROI. The ability to manage company guidance and allow for easy search and book provides great benefits for these travelers and their companies. 

Health & Safety Solutions: Winners

  • Editor's Pick: Aura: Aura Air
    • An intriguing product that would be beneficial to hotels and might boost a guest's confidence in the air quality of a room at a time when many are concerned about the coronavirus transmission.
  • LCP Medical Technologies: FrontLine Virus Elimination Face Mask
    • An innovative approach and upgrade to standard masks. This technology is likely to make traveling easier.

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