STB picks 9 firms for inaugural accelerator programme to test tourism initiatives

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) has picked nine companies for its first Singapore Tourism Accelerator programme, which is co-run together with coworking entrepreneurial community Found8. Among the nine companies, two are from Singapore - Infinito Tech and Good for Food.

Chosen from a pool of more than 160 applicants, the rest are from Hong Kong, Thailand, India, Australia, UK and the Netherlands and they are RepUp, Delight Labs,, Oaky, Plattar, First Hive, and EATLAB. The companies will spend the next six months refining and test-bedding innovative solutions that could benefit Singapore's tourism sector. According to STB, the selected companies have proposed a wide range of solutions that show potential to improve productivity, formulate stronger strategies to engage visitors, and enhance the overall visitor experience.

Infinito uses AI to derive recommended hotel rate by "learning" from a hotel's previous decisions. In doing so, it is able to determine which decisions maximised revenue, and then execute and implement pricing decisions and promotions on the hotel's behalf. It also offers feedback to hotels on how future decision-making could be improved.

Meanwhile, Good for Food has invented a smart dustbin to help establishments such as hotels reduce food waste. Using sensors and image recognition technology, these dustbins can track and identify food waste from buffet lines and restaurant kitchens, so that inventory can be managed more efficiently.

Other solutions aim to help tourism players enhance the visitor experience. Plattar, an Australia-based online platform for example, provides simple templates and tools to create and deploy AR content. Attraction owners and other tourism businesses can use this to build their own AR experiences without having to engage a developer, and create immersive experiences for consumers via their digital devices.

The nine companies will undergo a series of workshops, networking and sharing sessions, as well as pair up with industry partners such as Marina Bay Sands, Resorts World Sentosa and the Gardens by the Bay to testbed their solutions. They will be subject to further assessment by STB, Found8 and industry partners in December to determine if they are ready to move on to the next phase, where they will pilot their solutions.

Those selected will receive funding support of up to SG$25,000 each for their pilot. By the end of the programme in March 2020, these selected teams will demonstrate their solutions and present the outcomes of their pilots to industry stakeholders and potential investors. STB plans to recruit three more cohorts for the Accelerator programme, with the next call for applications opening in November 2019.

Poh Chi Chuan, STB's director, digital transformation, Singapore Tourism Board, it is encouraged by the quality of ideas presented in the first round of recruitment and will work closely with industry partners to test the solutions in a real-world setting, with tangible outcomes.

"Through the Singapore Tourism Accelerator, we aim to grow and adapt these solutions to address the specific needs of Singapore’s tourism sector, and help our stakeholders stay ahead of the competition," Poh said.

Grace Sai, co-founder and head of corporate innovation at Found8 said that the collaboration between start-ups and industry players to pilot these solutions could lead to some real breakthroughs.

"With the involvement of Singapore's tourism and hospitality heavy-hitters, as well as the commitment from the nine selected companies, we are confident that the Accelerator will increase the chance of success in these pilots," she said.

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