8th VIR Online Innovation Days at the Marshall Haus at Messe Berlin
On 21 and 22 June 2017 the who’s who of the digital tourism industry met again at the Online Innovation Days of Verband Internet Reisevertrieb (VIR). ITB Berlin was the partner of this industry event, which took place at the Marshall Haus.
As in previous years the event kicked off with the prestigious VIR Sprungbrett Innovators’ Competition. This was introduced by the entrepreneur Uwe Frers, whose keynote speech illustrated the relationship between experienced corporations and startups. At the VIR competition itself industry newcomers and established enterprises competed for the judges’ attention with their ideas. Juvigo was the startup that won the most votes. This newly-founded company specialises in holiday and youth camp bookings, targeting both younger customers and their parents. Besides many other prizes this Berlin-based startup won a place at ITB Berlin 2018 and will be a welcome addition to the 52nd edition of the World’s Largest Travel Show. DreamCheaper was the 2017 winner in the category for established enterprises. This company monitors a hotel price for its customers after a booking has been made, and if the price falls makes a cancellation and new booking.
On day two of this year’s event the focus was on artificial intelligence, which has become an increasingly important topic, with a particular view to its effect on the travel industry. Pim van Oerle from the metasearch engine Skyscanner talked about chatbots, for example. In his lecture, Prof. Dr. Antonio Krüger asked whether, in the age of artificial intelligence, we were dealing with smart machines or intelligent tools. Other speakers also contributed to the discussion on this year’s key topic.
Additional information about the event can be found at https://v-i-r.de/vir-online-innovationstage/#regdl=vir-online-innovationstage-2017.
For those who were unable to attend the event and are interested in finding out more there are numerous video clips and streams available on YouTube and the association’s Facebook page: https://www.youtube.com/user/virtualVIR /