New Event, The Lion’s Den, Crowns Two
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
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.
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
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
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
The People’s Choice Award Winner:
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.