Young Innovators Respond to Industry Challenges with Science, Speed 

1 October 2019

In an effort to showcase innovative thinking that propels the adventure travel industry forward, the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) welcomed four young business leaders at Adventure Travel World Summit 2019. “We look to solve problems when we innovate,” said Andrew Weber, CEO of GRAYL, maker of press-and-purify water bottles, in his introduction of the session’s speakers. Throughout the session, each speaker explained how their companies responded to problems encountered by travelers and within the travel industry.

Max Hardy of 10xTravel joined several other young innovators to explain how their products and services address common travel problems. © ATTA / Hassen Salum

“I’m so excited to be here at Summit that I’ve deliberately overdressed,” said Max Hardy, co-founder and CEO of 10x Travel (and possibly the only Summit delegate in a crisp suit and bow tie). Hardy’s research identified the most important time to follow up with a new business lead is inside the first hour of contact — and most businesses are simply too slow to respond. 10xTravel, an online tour operator marketing system, offers a solution to that problem by helping operators provide an immediate, tailored, meaningful, and automated response to inquiries.

Addressing the traveler experience, Jacob Ravn and his team at Timeshifter determined the most important element for people battling jet lag is getting the right type of light at the right time of day. The easy-to-use Timeshifter app helps people adjust their circadian clocks before traveling so they can avoid “turning into a zombie,” said Ravn, co-founder of the company. With Timeshifter’s innovative solution to a common travel problem, travelers are refreshed and ready to go when they arrive at their destination.

How people travel is another aspect of the experience. Torunn Tronsvang believes a traveler’s environmental footprint does not have to outweigh the changed perspectives gained. She is the founder and CEO of Up Norway, a “dating platform” type of system that matches travelers and itineraries. “The traditional travel model is moving the most people as cheaply as possible. But we want to change how Norway presents itself to the world,” she said. Tronsvang and her team focus on the smallest service providers possible, looking for the most unique experience with the deepest personal impact.

Pradeep Kumar tapped into his personal experience when he founded Delhi By Locals. “I didn’t have many opportunities when I was young. Without the community that empowered and nurtured me, I never would’ve been able to found Delhi By Locals, so I’m committed to making sure that the impact Delhi By Locals has on the community is just as profound,” he said. Above all, the Indian tour operation focuses on customer and staff happiness, giving a full 50% of its profit to its sister organization Learning By Locals, a youth empowerment, education-based non-governmental organization based out of the Sanjay Colony. “Giving back to the community was built into our business model from the start,” Kumar said.