Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Innovation Summit: TrustYou v Revinate - aiming to cut through Too Much Information for hoteliers

A running theme here at the BOOT has been the challenge the online travel industry faces from "too much information". A sub-section of this challenge is hoteliers trying to understand, track and respond to reviews and user generate content.

At the PhoCusWright Travel Innovation Summit we had back to back presentations from companies trying to help hoteliers with this problem.

Benjamin Jost - co-founder and managing Director of TrustYou presented a semantic search and sorting engine. A means for categorising and sorting through unstructured user generated reviews. This can be used to improve customer search and to allow hoteliers to understand and search the nearly limitless amount of data. His presentation focused on the "magic box" that made structured the mass blobs of text that make up the typical review. Results were technical but impressive how accurately the technology characterised and summarised positive and negative comments.

Kyle Duffy, VP of Global Accounts for Revinate showed a tool for allowing chains and properties to monitor all forms of social media for commentary on the property, area and competitors. Allows hotels to generate a social media score card and compare that to their direct competitor set.

Both are trying to solve a similar problem - helping hotels to sort through the mass or unstructured information that are on review and social media sites.

Both companies are young but doing well. Revinate is claiming it is already profitable. TrustYou say that have been in business for just 1 year but already have 1,000 customers and $1mm in revenue.

TrustYou focused their presentation on the "magic" behind the technology. Showing us the results from their machine. Revinate focused on the tools they provided to their hotelier customers to sort, manage and respond.

Revinate's presentation lacked the crisp clarity of the TrustYou and it was harder in the Revinate presentation to see how powerful the tech was in the background. That said, in focusing their pitch on the end tool for hoteliers Revinate provided a stronger business platform and model than TrustYou.

TrustYou had the better "geek factor" but Revinate looked more business ready. As a tweet from Hudson Crossing said maybe Revinate and TrustYou should get together.

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