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Do you have an amazing idea for a new travel business or concept but lack the funding to get it off the ground?

If so, make sure you don’t miss this incredible opportunity to challenge for a £100,000 investment pot created by four travel industry investors.

Travel Weekly’s The £100k Pitch competition offers budding entrepreneurs the chance to put forward their ideas in an attempt to secure investment and support from the investors.

It forms part of the magazine’s 50th anniversary celebrations, as it also marks 10 years of innovation as an independent business with an entrepreneurial approach.

Lucy Huxley, Travel Weekly Group editor-in-chief, said: “In addition to celebrating and supporting our readers, Travel Weekly is committed to helping to develop the next generation of travel industry leaders, so I am incredibly grateful to our investors for agreeing to take part in The £100k Pitch.

“Building on our annual prospectus-style magazine Take Off in Travel and our features and events focused on attracting and supporting the very best talent to the industry, this competition will offer a fantastic opportunity for a new travel business or concept to flourish.”

She added: “We couldn’t have hoped for four more knowledgeable and inspiring investors to select and support our winner, and I can’t wait to see the entries as they come in over the next two months.”


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Oliver Brendon is chief executive of ATD Travel Services, the company he founded after being inspired by his experiences as a holiday rep in Orlando where he sold theme park tickets to British holidaymakers.

Attraction Tickets Direct was founded in 2002 with a £10,000 loan and through organic growth now sells more than a million attraction tickets a year in over 50 destinations.

The group, which also includes DoSomethingDifferent.com, has featured in The Sunday Times FastTrack and Profit Track lists and generates £140 million in sales per year. Oliver recently founded the ATD Foundation which funds water, sanitation and education projects in Zambia and fully supports a Zambian football academy.

He said: “I am excited to be part of this great initiative from Travel Weekly. I have funded quite a few start-ups in travel and whilst it’s true that most haven’t made it, one or two have and that has been enormously rewarding.

“What I’ve learnt from those successes and failures is that it’s not the idea that matters but rather the people involved. Do they have the necessary energy, determination and resilience?”


Irene Hays is chair of the Hays Travel Group Board and has more than four decades’ experience in supporting both business start-ups and growth and major international investments in the UK.

She is a former chief executive of South Tyneside and Sunderland City Councils and was a director general in Whitehall for local government and regeneration. She is currently a non-executive director with the Department of Education and chair of the Education and Skills Funding Agency.

Hays was recently awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award for Services to Business in the 2018 North East Business Awards and received a CBE in 2008.

She said: “I am passionate about business start-ups and innovative growth ideas – they’re rarely about building a brand-new island off the land mass but colouring in the coastline with a quirky enhancement or a new way of doing things.

“I think the Travel Weekly £100k Pitch is inspired, and I was keen to be involved because often it takes just a relatively small amount of funding and some positive support and challenge to make the seed of an idea successful.

“I’m hoping I get to meet the next industry entrepreneur like Robin Dellar, John Hays or the guys behind loveholidays, though maybe two John Hays might be too much!”


Andrew Botterill is executive chairman of UK travel investment firm Travcorp Holdings, which he is representing on The £100k Pitch panel. The company’s current investments include OTA Holidaygems.co.uk and long-haul tour operator Destination2.co.uk.

Botterill was formerly chief executive of dnata Travel Europe and Stella Travel Services UK, having led the sale of CVC Capital Partners-owned Stella to Emirates-owned dnata in 2015.

He is also a previous shareholder and chief executive of The Global Travel Group and oversaw the sale of the business to Stella Travel Services in 2007.

He said: ‘I’m delighted to be involved in the £100k Pitch competition and on behalf of Travcorp Holdings Ltd I am really excited to see and hear some of the ideas that are looking for help and investment.

“Our industry has always been entrepreneurial with some real pioneers and trailblazers across many sectors of travel. Innovation and technology are becoming ever-more important in travel and I know that to make a real difference you need to back the right people. I’m looking forward to meeting all our finalists.’


Steve Bacon is the former chief financial officer of Cruise.co.uk and was instrumental in the sale of the business to BDC in 2016 and the subsequent acquisition of Germany-based Kreuzfahrtberater.de.

He joined the travel industry in 2006, working on the sale of Gold Medal to Thomas Cook in 2009 and eventually becoming managing director of Thomas Cook scheduled business.

Prior to the travel industry, he was finance and IT director for Home Delivery Network Limited and is currently group chief financial officer of strategic consultancy Kalibrate.

He said: “I am thrilled to be joining The £100k Pitch panel in such a challenging but exciting time for travel.  I am looking forward to working with the other investors as we aim to select an innovative game-changing idea and play a significant part in the company’s development plans.

“I sincerely hope the winning business will have the vision and energy to put their heart and soul into becoming the travel industry’s next big idea and we can help in fast-tracking it to make it a success.”


Driving innovation

“Avis is delighted to be a part of Travel Weekly’s 50th anniversary celebrations. The travel industry is well known for its entrepreneurs and it’s great to be encouraging talent and innovation through the next generation of industry leaders and the exciting 100K Pitch.”

Julia Kemp, director of international sales and partnerships, Avis Budget Group.

Read more from Julia Kemp on Avis and the future of the industry.


Marketing and PR specialists Sound to advise winner

The winner of the £100k Pitch will receive a day’s brand development and planning to assist with the launch of their business idea, courtesy of marketing and PR agency Sound.

The winner will spend the day with the agency’s founders, who have worked with leading industry brands including British Airways, Royal Caribbean, Air New Zealand and Disney, and will receive:

  • Development of brand values and mission statement
  • Analysis of target audience
  • Launch strategy and planning
  • An advice document on future steps

Jo Briody, founder of Sound, said: “We are excited to be supporting the winner of the £100k Pitch in the development of their marketing and communications plan.

“Brands are built on trust and it is critical that any new business develops a proposition that is true to their product and experience and resonates with their target market.  We aim to work collaboratively with the winner to create a plan that does just that, setting them up for success.”

Sound is an integrated marketing and PR partnership specialising in travel brands and covering strategy, media, creative and PR.

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How to enter

Travel Weekly’s The £100k Pitch competition is open to any UK-based start-up business in the travel industry or an existing UK firm which is seeking investment for a new concept or idea for the sector.

Entrants are invited to submit an initial written submission outlining the business case for their entry, with entries closing at midnight on Wednesday, July 31.

A shortlist will then be drawn up based on the written submissions, with finalists invited to take part in The £100k Pitch final this autumn where they will present their ideas to the investors.

All submissions will be treated in confidence. However, details of the finalists’ entries and pitches including commercial rationale and targets will form part of the editorial coverage of the competition within the Travel Weekly portfolio.

Travel Weekly is solely the promoter of the competition. The winning entrant(s) will be responsible for agreeing all legal and commercial agreements and terms with the investors.

To put forward your submission, complete the form below.


ENTRIES ARE NOW CLOSED


Terms and conditions

Travel Weekly’s The £100k Pitch competition is open to any UK-based start-up business in the travel industry or an existing UK firm which is seeking investment for a new concept or idea for the sector.

Entrants are invited to submit an initial written submission outlining the business case for their entry, with entries closing at midnight on Wednesday, July 31.

A shortlist will then be drawn up based on the written submissions, with finalists invited to take part in The £100k Pitch final this autumn where they will present their ideas to the investors.

All submissions will be treated in confidence. However, details of the finalists’ entries and pitches including commercial rationale and targets will form part of the editorial coverage of the competition within the Travel Weekly portfolio.

Travel Weekly is solely the promoter of the competition. The winning entrant(s) will be responsible for agreeing all legal and commercial agreements and terms with the investors.


Travel Weekly terms and conditions