The 10 most innovative travel companies of 2021

From Airbnb and Hipcamp to Delta Airlines and Ennismore hotels, these 10 travel companies found reasons to be optimistic in an unprecedented year for tourism and hospitality.

Few industries were as hard-hit by the pandemic as travel. The companies on this list, however, found ways to deliver the joy and wonder of experiencing new places while prioritizing travelers’ safety. Hipcamp, Getaway, and Arrive Outdoors brought people outside and off the beaten path, while Delta and Hopper used the crisis to respond to travelers’ changing needs, offering fliers unprecedented transparency and flexibility. Small-tour operator Intrepid Travel used the pandemic slowdown to look at how to make its businesses sustainable, from top to bottom. And Airbnb faced the headwinds by embracing local and even virtual travel, while pulling off a successful IPO.

1. HIPCAMP

For bringing camping closer to home in a year when we all needed to get outside

2. GETAWAY

For redefining the outdoor retreat

3. DELTA AIR LINES

For setting the standard for U.S. airlines throughout the COVID-19 pandemic

4. ARRIVE OUTDOORS

For saving you money on camping gear, delivered to your doorstep

5. INTREPID TRAVEL

For committing to science-based targets to become carbon neutral by 2030

6. HOPPER

For continuing to address new travel pain points through its mobile-only platform

7. JOURNERA

For streamlining travel by interlocking your reservations

8. ENNISMORE

For creative thinking and staying competitive during the COVID-19 pandemic

Ennismore is the parent company of several hospitality families including Hoxton Hotels, a collection of nine properties across Europe and the U.S., and adventure resort Gleneagles in the Scottish Highlands. As hotels emptied out due to COVID-19, Hoxton properties made up for lost revenue by leveraging their popular food and beverage spaces to (safely) appeal to locals; created a pop-up glamping retreat at its Oxfordshire estate; and, before the pandemic, introduced Flexy Time: free 24-hour flexible check-in and check-out for all guests. These quick and thoughtful pivots is one reason why hotel giant Accor is teaming up with Ennismore to group all of its properties under a new umbrella lifestyle brand, also named Ennismore.

9. SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

For making airports healthier and more human-centric

10. AIRBNB

For earning back trust and repackaging the travel mindset

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