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ARDA’S Exciting New Event, The Lion’s Den, Crowns Two Winners

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 ARDA’S Exciting New Event, The Lion’s Den, Crowns Two 

lions den winner plus judges 


One of the most exciting, and well-received sessions of this year’s ARDA World was the new Lion’s Den Session sponsored by Crystal Lagoons.  Modeled after Shark Tank, The Lion’s Den was an interactive pitch competition where six bold start-ups present their digital innovations and business plans to our well-credentialed panel of judges -- the Lions of the timeshare industry —including four high profile CEOs and executives of Disney, Marriott, Wyndham and Crystal Lagoons.  The criteria for the judges were based on five different areas: technical innovation, business model innovation, potential market impact, competitive advantage and the quality of the presentation.  

The six confident contestants that took on our panel of judges included: 

Proxce – A secure and seamless hotel check-in experience.

Rented - A world-class marketplace for competitive short-term rentals.

Tansler – A reverse auction, one round of bids approach to home rentals.

Trekkable – A booking solution for the 30 million people with mobility challenges.

Alice - Guest experience and operational management on one platform.

Voyat - Hotel guest connection via the most effective retention engine.

These six contestants were each given six minutes to present in front of the judges and audience and then four minutes to respond to the Lions’ questions.  These ten minutes on the stage by each company was used to determine a People’s Choice award winner voted on by the audience and an Innovator of the Year award determined by the four judges.   

The Innovator of The Year Award Winner: Trekkable 

The first Innovator of the Year Award winner, as voted on by the panel of judges, was Trekkable and its founder and presenter Benedict Jones.  During the presentation Jones’ spoke about Trekkable’s main goal, which is to help create a booking solution for the 30 million people with mobility challenges.  Jones is one of the 30 million people with mobility challenges which allowed him to communicate the struggles he goes through every single time he travels.  Through his personal stories he was able to convey the difficulty each and every one of those 30 million people go through when trying to book a room when it is time for them to travel.  Jones talked about how “Trekkable exists to change this situation” through capturing ratings of specific properties through the lens of accessibility…enable anyone with mobility concerns to know what kind of experience they can expect up-front. No longer will a person be ‘booking blindfolded’ not knowing what to encounter when arriving.  Because securing a room that fits their needs should not cost extra time, effort, and expense.  Trekkable is an amazing story looking to fix a problem that currently exists in the travel industry and their founder Benedict Jones was extremely excited to win the first ever Innovator of the Year Award. 

The People’s Choice Award Winner: Rented 

Rented.com’s CEO Andrew McConnell took the stage of the Lion’s Den to discuss the company’s goals and objectives and how Rented is trying to redefine rentals, by building a world-class marketplace for competitive short-term rentals, while also repositioning today’s ideas on property management contracts and fees. All with an innovative and hungry team.  He stated that because of Rented, thousands of homeowners are renting their homes “the smarter way” and demonstrated this by having customers across 17 countries, 38 states, and 312 cities.  McConnell’s presentation about a new short-term competitive rentals website was enough to earn him and his company, Rented, the first People’s Choice Award. Hear from Andrew McConnell after learning of his win.