Marriott Teams With Accenture, 1776 on Travel Startup Incubator

The three firms are working together to start an incubator for travel and hospitality technology, with a planned September launch date.

The future of travel is about to be incubated.

A new partnership between the well-known startup incubator 1776, the interactive arm of the global management consultancy Accenture, and the hotel conglomerate Marriott is intended to bring some new ideas to the travel experience.

The companies are launching the Travel Experience Incubator Challenge, which aims to find new technologies for the hospitality industry and nurture them to success. The companies will launch their initiative in September at 1776’s Crystal City location in Arlington, Virginia.

Each of the three partners brings something specific to the collaboration—Marriott with its long history in hospitality, Accenture with its experience in helping forge startups through its Accenture Ventures program, and 1776’s track record of offering mentoring and resources to new tech companies.

In a news release, Marriott International Global Chief Commercial Officer Stephanie Linnartz said the incubator is a way to help change the hotel and lodging industry for the better.

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

The partnership has much in common with 1776’s existing collaboration with two organizations in the energy industry, the Edison Electric Institute and the Institute for Electric Innovation. Evan Burfield, 1776’s cofounder and CEO, noted that this approach is the incubator’s mode of operation—to propel new business ideas with the help of experienced industry leaders.

“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,” Burfield said in the release. “Large, forward-thinking companies, like Accenture and Marriott, are engaging successfully with startups, looking at startups as discovery arms and co-collaborators for innovation.”

Interested startups can apply to compete at the 1776 website.

Marriott's Ko Olina Beach Club in Hawaii. (Mariamichelle/Pixabay)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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