Exclusive: Bart Bellers, Senior Advisor, Corporate Strategy, Amadeus APAC talks about Amadeus Next

By on January 18, 2016 | Interviews

The entire travel industry is looking at Asia-Pacific for growth opportunities. With the fast growing number of travellers, innovative startups are coming up with products catering to them. These local startups often have better understanding of the market when compared to bigger players but they lack the technology and reach that the global travel brands have. That is why Amadeus, the leading provider of technology solutions for the travel industry, started Amadeus Next. Through Amadeus Next, they are working with travel startups to evolve new ideas and help them grow.

Bart Bellers_Amadeus APAC

Bart Bellers, Senior Advisor, Corporate Strategy, Amadeus Asia Pacific

We spoke with Bart Bellers, Senior Advisor, Corporate Strategy, Amadeus Asia Pacific to learn more about Amadeus Next. Here is an excerpt from the conversation:

What was the objective behind Amadeus Next?

Our vision is to build and foster the travel tech startup community in Asia Pacific. From the very beginning it has been important to us that Amadeus Next is not just another corporate incubator or accelerator. We want to bring something to the industry that is long-term and really valuable to all those involved.

Especially today, we observe that the travel industry is broader than ever before and that traveller touchpoints continue to grow. What does that mean for travel tech players? The answer is that no one player in the industry can do it all alone and collaboration is key.

With Amadeus Next we do exactly that, we collaborate. We work together with startups to evolve new and original ideas in travel by leveraging our technology, expertise, reach and funding. Amadeus Next also serves as a driving force to build and foster a community of like-minded partners and people who are excited about travel technology, and are looking to challenge the status quo.

What do the startups stand to gain by associating with Amadeus Next?

We take startups to the next level by supporting them across four areas. Firstly, it is about providing access to technology and solutions that allow startups to build their Minimum Viable Product. Secondly, startups can learn from Amadeus experts and leverage our decades of experience in travel technology, as well as receive mentoring and guidance to navigate their way to success. Thirdly, Amadeus helps startups expand their reach by connecting them to the right network to validate new ideas and business models, with our unrivalled customer base and industry partners. And last, but not least, being able to obtain funding will always play a pivotal role for startups. Amadeus can introduce startups to investors and venture capital around the world to help them grow into leading companies.

Why the focus on APAC?

According to a study by Technavio Research, the global travel technology market is forecast to grow by 14.2% over the course of the next four years, to $12.21 billion. Asia Pacific is a region that is seeing tremendous growth and experiencing a travel boom with the rise of a more affluent middle class, and lower cost of travel.

At the same time, we saw there was a lack of startups in the region really focused on travel technology, and we see this as a huge pocket of opportunity. So we wanted to support these new ventures, entrepreneurs and startups, helping Asia Pacific to become one of the top regions for travel tech innovation. Through Amadeus Next, we can bring our leading position, our technology and our industry knowledge to offer something really valuable to the Asia Pacific travel tech startup scene.

How do you plan to reach out to more startups in the emerging markets?

Since we officially launched back in November, we’ve already seen a strong pipeline of companies getting in touch with us and we’re in discussion with new partners, associations and startups on a daily basis.

Through partnerships with local organisations, communities and some of the large tech events across the region, we aim to continue building the network across Asia Pacific, lending a different perspective and driving a positive outcome for the travel ecosystem.

To date, 9 travel technology start-ups are already part of Amadeus Next, including Triphobo, Klook, Crayondata, Orahi, Triposo, TopDocs, TripVerse StayAngel and Dozo! We’re open to all things travel tech: from carpooling to tours, from travel planning to personalisation, and even the Internet of Things.

In addition to the startups we work with, we also have many other partners on board, such as yourselves (TravHQ), Techstars, TLABS, JungleVentures, CyberAgent, Echelon, 500 Tuk Tuks as well as with startup organisations like Techsauce and Startup Thailand.

Going forward, what more can we expect from Amadeus Next?

Moving forward, we want to establish Amadeus as a frontrunner in the travel tech startup landscape and for Amadeus Next to be the go-to place for startups and partners in Asia Pacific. A year from now, we would like startups to recognise Amadeus as a key player in the startup space that has truly shaped the future of travel through Amadeus Next.

Having said that, we ourselves are working like a startup, taking a lean approach to how we do things and constantly evolving, iterating and growing Amadeus Next together with our startups and partners when we see new opportunities arise.

TravHQ in association with Amadeus and FICCI is hosting the Startup Knockdown Delhi. The event will offer travel startups an opportunity to showcase their idea in front of decision makers from travel industry and be a part of Amadeus Next. Startups can send their pitch deck at editor@travhq.com.

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