Tech Watch: Startups aim to ease industry challenges

Where does the next “big idea” come from in hospitality technology? 

Entrepreneurs often want to improve the industry in some significant way. These industrialists have to work tirelessly to take their ideas and then secure the attention and support necessary to scale up their operations. I want to take a look at some of the promising solutions that are emerging in 2023: What are the ideas behind the technology and why do they matter?

The startups featured in this article have been selected to participate in the 2023 North American edition of HFTP’s Entrepreneur 20X startup pitch competition, co-located with HITEC Toronto. Learn more at

The idea may be an entirely new model or seek to fill a perceived gap in the industry. Last year at E20X Dubai, eTip pitched its app-less, cashless and contact-free digital tipping solution designed to make it easy for guests to tip hotel staff using their preferred payment option, and it ended up taking home the Judge’s Choice Award. (The startup will return to the E20X stage in 2023 at HITEC Toronto.) This solution not only provides a convenient service to hotel guests who want to use it, but it also works to improve employee morale and help hoteliers reward excellent customer service.

The product or service may be intended to enhance efficiency, increase revenue or streamline operations—or do all three. Buk Technology provides a tokenized distribution platform that gives hotels control over pricing and distribution. With its solution, hotels can generate a new revenue stream through secondary market hotel room resale commissions. PassiveBolt offers a decentralized identity platform that automates guest interaction workflows for room access including identity verification, remote check-in, mobile key delivery and service requests.

It could also consolidate services or act as a “one-stop shop” for automation. WrkSpot is touted as the first and only cloud-based software platform to combine workforce management, hotel operations, labor compliance and safety all in one platform.

The idea could provide an exciting alternative that improves existing technology in the marketplace by incorporating new features. Laasie seeks to improve traditional loyalty programs through AI and big data to create personalized, instant rewards—no points, tiers or waiting for qualification.

To learn more about how HFTP supports industry startups through E20X, visit

Frank Wolfe is the CEO of Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals.