AUSTIN, Texas, April 6, 2017 - WayBlazer, an artificial intelligence startup transforming online travel planning, made a clean sweep during last week’s Lion’s Den ‘Digital Meets Travel’ pitch competition at the American Resort Development Association (ARDA) 2017 Conference, winning the coveted “Top Innovator” and “People’s Choice” awards.
Judges’ scores indicated they were impressed by how WayBlazer serves better trip planning experiences to customers while helping travel companies increase engagement and conversion. By understanding a traveler’s search intent, WayBlazer’s software recommends the best destination and travel products to every shopper. Recommendations surface relevant images and reviews so a traveler instantly knows they have a match.
“WayBlazer is tackling a challenge that is very important for many in travel, and their presentation was compelling,” said Caroline Shin, one of the judges and Vacatia‘s CEO and co-founder. Shin was recently appointed as a member of the ARDA Board of Directors. “Vacatia was happy to support ARDA and Phocuswright in presenting the Lion’s Den. We really enjoyed seeing the latest digital innovations in travel.”
WayBlazer reduces the time travelers spend researching and planning, moving the industry toward more engaging shopping experiences. In early tests, the startup saw an 81% improvement in search results quality and a 23% reduction in the shop to booking path.
“Travelers spend too much time researching dozens of websites, making it difficult for suppliers to convert online visitors into customers,” said Noreen Henry, CEO of WayBlazer. “Customers expect personalization, and our advancements in AI make this possible.”
Simon Lehmann, President of travel industry research authority Phocuswright, moderated the crowd favorite event, a collaboration between ARDA and Phocuswright.
“Recognition against the industry’s best new travel innovators is humbling, validates the importance of the problem we’re solving, and is rewarding for the WayBlazer team,” stated Henry.
WayBlazer is a B2B company that uses artificial intelligence-driven software to transform online travel planning. By dynamically merchandising relevant products, images, and reviews, WayBlazer provides a personalized shopping experience with destination and hotel recommendations that match a traveler’s trip needs. From discovery to shopping, WayBlazer’s solutions work together to create customer experiences that drive conversion.
WayBlazer is led by travel and tech entrepreneurs Terry Jones, Founder of Travelocity/Founding Chairman of Kayak.com and Manoj Saxena, former GM of IBM Watson.