Expedia aims to make travel more accessible with new start-up accelerator

Expedia aims to make travel more accessible with new start-up accelerator

The Open World Accelerator will provide a package of support for early-stage firms and entrepreneurs to innovate scalable products that address specific traveller needs

by Aidan Poole

Expedia Group has launched an initiative to support start-ups and entrepreneurs working to make travel more accessible.

The initiative, called Open World Accelerator, aims to bring innovation to the travel industry by supporting start-ups and small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) around the globe with Expedia’s technology and resources.

The first programme is designed to help entrepreneurs focused on increasing travel access for underserved people and democratising travel in line with Expedia’s Open World vision for better travel experiences.

The global OTA said next year Open World Accelerator will launch another program to develop new capabilities.

Each program includes a six-month curriculum for selected businesses, along with a bundle of resources including technology development support, access to travel industry experts, participation in networking events, access to Expedia Group’s platform and products, and a non-equity grant.

Start-ups and SMBs can join the first program between now and October 21 if they are aiming to make the travel industry more accessible, have at least a minimum viable product, and are less than 10 years old.

Archana Arunkumar, senior vice president of platform at Expedia, said: “Travel is an economic driver for many communities around the world, but it’s a complex industry to enter and to innovate scalable products that address specific traveller needs.

“This is why our Open World vision is so critical to our desire to put the traveller first.

“Expedia Group’s mission is to power travel for everyone, everywhere. Open World Accelerator is specifically designed to drive innovation in the industry, remove barriers to travel, and enable start-ups and SMBs to build capabilities on Expedia’s Open World technology platform that significantly improve the experience for every traveller.”

A panel of Expedia Group judges will review applications and select participating companies, who will join the program starting during January 2023.