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Marriott launches new travel start-up ‘incubator’

Accenture Interactive, Marriott International, and 1776, a leading global incubator and network for startups, have announced the launch of 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 incubator will bring together the hospitality industry expertise of one of the world’s most innovative companies, Marriott International, and its official Travel Experience Incubator partner, Accenture Interactive, along with participating startups, to co-create unique and inventive 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,” said Stephanie Linnartz, Global Chief Commercial Officer, Marriott International.

“We look forward to collaborating with these independent visionaries to reveal new business opportunities and enhanced guest experiences.

“Continuously innovating the guest experience from design to technology is a centerpiece of Marriott’s culture and competitive advantage,” she said.

Startups are invited to immediately apply to The Travel Experience Incubator Challenge. Selected startups will be invited to participate in The Travel Experience Incubator, a three-month, travel industry-focused program with opportunities for paid piloting and investment at the program’s conclusion. The incubator will kick off in September 2017 at 1776’s Crystal City Campus in Arlington, Virginia.

The selected participants will receive a dedicated curriculum, drawing on the hospitality expertise of Marriott leadership, Accenture experts and the 1776 global mentor network. Through the program, startups will develop, validate, and test travel solutions using data and technology, with the goal to increase customer connectedness and enhance travel experiences.

“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 at 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.”

Marriott will draw on its deep experience in the hospitality business, supporting the incubator with its data-rich knowledge of customers as well as mentors from its executive team to coach the startups. Accenture will provide resources focused on human-centered design and digital technologies, as well as proprietary tools to help accelerate and scale real-time solutions.

Startups will also will have access to Accenture’s deep industry expertise in hospitality to lend additional mentorship and insight throughout the program.

“Now, more than ever, people want their travel to be tailored, hyper-personalized and connected,” said Julie Sweet, Accenture’s Chief Executive Officer – 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.”

Accenture has proven experience working with the startup community through Accenture Ventures, which partners with and invests in growth-stage companies that create innovative enterprise technologies using an open innovation approach.

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