New mobility app from award-winning Irish tech firm CarTrawler is fuelled by the company’s culture of innovation.
In the rocketing world of travel tech, CarTrawler has accumulated an impressive haul of high-profile accolades in a short space of time. A previous winner of Irish tech company of the year, CarTrawler’s growth, innovation, entrepreneurship and other credentials have been richly recognised by the industry.
To its list of accolades, it seems can be added a new unofficial title: the best-kept secret in travel. Trusted by many of the biggest global names in aviation, travel, car rental and mobility, this tech firm provides multimodal transport solutions to a staggering one billion passengers each year.
They are in the big league. Yet, of those billion passengers per year, how many have heard of CarTrawler?
“Probably not many,” laughs Aileen McCormack, CarTrawler’s Chief Commercial Officer. “We’re a B2B operation after all, so consumers can’t hire a car directly through us. Instead, airlines and travel companies outsource their mobility solutions to us including car rental, private transfer ad ride hailing, and we build the brand for them. We’ve been quite successful doing that.”
How CarTrawler became the world’s leading travel tech platform
The statement is putting it mildly. CarTrawler is today the world’s leading travel tech platform, connecting customers and travel brands to a range of ground-based transport solutions, including car hire, taxi, private transfer, ride hailing and all pieces of the mobility jigsaw.
For end-users, CarTrawler offers a richer and more personalised retail experience that anticipates their individual needs and preferences. For travel brands, the technology is simple and cost-effective, allowing them to simultaneously own a bigger chunk of the customer journey while generating additional revenue streams.
This win-win proposition has delivered big numbers and big names. Today, CarTrawler has more than 2,200 travel partners and in excess of 2,500 travel suppliers. More than 100 airlines rely on the technology including Alaska Airlines, KLM, Emirates, SWISS, Virgin Australia and other household names.
“For travel companies, I suppose the big strength is that we do everything,” says CarTrawler’s Aileen McCormack. “Once you’re on board as a partner, we connect you with all the suppliers, we do all the technology, we do the revenue management, we do the customer UI, we even handle the customer servicing through our centre of excellence in Dublin.
“For consumers, everything from the initial search to the pricing model to the final booking is all done by us,” she says. “If you’ve ever booked a flight and been given the option of renting a car, that was probably us. We’re a one-stop shop for journey planning.”
Helping travel brands to make the most of their data
At the heart of CarTrawler’s unstoppable rise has been a realisation among travel brands that they really should be doing more with all that customer data. Airlines, hotels and other travel retailers are all sitting on vast amounts of data, while customers today expect a more personalised and ‘complete’ retail experience. Someone had to join those dots, and CarTrawler has done just that.
“Nobody else in the world has more content than we have, so for an airline, for example, to be able to get access to all that content through one partnership and a single integration is really attractive,” says McCormack. “All of our partners operate on a global scale, servicing multiple destinations, and we’re integrated with all those flight paths.
“Even though we’re a B2B operation, one of the reasons we’ve been so successful is because we have consistently focused on the end consumer,” she says. “We build and adapt the technology with airlines and travel brands in mind but we obsess over the end user. They are the ones who are transacting, after all.”
New mobility offering
CarTrawler’s relentless focus on the consumer both stems from, and further drives, a culture of innovation. The company’s latest venture is a move deeper into mobility solutions with a new standard-setting product designed to connect passengers with local, approved ride-hailing and airport transfer services.
“We can see that the majority of customers use either airport transfers or taxis to get to and from the airport,” says McCormack. “However, only around 12% of airlines are currently offering a mobility service. They are not getting the customer right into their end destination and back again so that is a gap in the journey that we are filling.
“We’re already giving customers a lot of choice on car rental and now we also want to give them choice on mobility,” she adds. “The new mobility product is about helping the customer to navigate their entire journey, not just flights but how they get to and from the airport and how they get around in destination.”
While the technology is a plug-in, everything is customised for the individual partner. The product then changes over time as CarTrawler gets access to more data and learns more about how offers and content are best received. With everything in-house, the firm can build, evolve and move at a pace most can only dream of.
“Innovation is part of our culture, it’s in our DNA,” says McCormack. “That’s where our mobility app has come from, airlines coming to us and saying ‘It would be great if you could do transfers the same as you do car rental’. We just love building products that suit our partners, that’s what it boils down to.”