UAE partners impressed by ATM start-up Award for Dubai-based Welcome to the World

Image credits: The view from the majestic Rove Beach Hotel in Dubai (courtesy Rove Hotels).

Local UAE partners of travel start-up Welcome to the World (WttW) are impressed by the prestigious ATM Draper-Aladdin Start-up Competition award WttW won earlier this month at  Dubai's annual Arabian Travel Market 2022 (ATM) exhibition. “It is a confirmation WttW is on the right track indeed,” said Paul Bridger, COO of Rove Hotels Dubai.

Rove Hotels partnered with WttW in September last year and has already benefitted from the partnership. “For several months, we have seen increased awareness, more direct bookings, and excellent video content,” Bridger continued.

On the video-inspired platform, travel enthusiasts can sign-up free of charge. Once registered, they can book hotels directly and other leisure destinations to unlock free local and venue-related welcoming benefits.

This year's ATM's theme was 'Reconnecting the Travel Industry' after years of challenging COVID restrictions and decline. Bridger: “Being recognized at ATMs in front of their travel industry peers is enormous. It further re-enforces their business model and adds value.”

The Prize WttW won at the exhibition includes a minimum of $30,000 up to a maximum of $500,000 investment, a DASC Certificate, and the chance to appear on Tim Draper's TV show, Meet the Drapers, where they compete for another $500,000 while gaining access to a crowdfunding network of 12 million viewers.

“It is satisfying that our team efforts of the past months paid off with this recognition. It is another confirmation that the market and industry trust us”, said Martie Daems, Managing Director of Welcome to the UAE.

Daems is happy all the hard work of the start-up year has now paid off: “If we look at our local partners, this means a boost of trust for them in us. I foresee more growth in the future now as well. For our local affiliate, it means more investment, more traffic on our platform, and more travel experiences.”

Fifteen start-ups from the tourism and hospitality sectors were selected in the finals at this year’s ATM. They were allowed to pitch for extra funding. The jury found the sustainable concept of WttW the most innovative and viable.

In WttW’s concept, foreign-owned commission-based travel platforms are seriously challenged: the money lands where it’s earned and offers severe advantages for both the traveler and the merchant.

Instead of a commission-based formula where the money goes to a foreign country, WttW advocates a sustainable model where the money lands in the country it is spent.

Rove COO Bridger agrees with Daems on the importance of the Price and his happiness with the partnership: “Driving direct booking links to loyal and returning guests. It reduces costs of sale, which means it is an important benefit for Rove hotels. The data also allows us to better understand and care for our guests.”

Welcome to the UAE started as the first license holder right after the launch of Welcome to the World. Roughly one and a half years later, five new license holders are on board. There are now license holders in the United Arab Emirates, Greece, Mexico, Thailand, and Qatar. Preparations are well underway for partnerships in France and Italy.

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