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Technology that allows airline companies to offer a suite of ground transportation options to customers has made CarTrawler a world leader, while a focus on innovation helps it to constantly improve its product offering. Travel Tech Aviation

Focus on innovation makes CarTrawler a world leader

December 18, 2018 No Comments

Technology that allows airline companies to offer a suite of ground transportation options to customers has made CarTrawler a world leader, while a focus on innovation helps it to constantly improve its product offering.

CarTrawler is a real Irish success story. The world’s leading B2B travel technology platform began life in 2005 as a car hire company but, according to Chief Technology Officer Bobby Healy, the company quickly saw the potential of online offerings: “Our background was in airline technologies and we applied that learning to the car hire industry, and very quickly became the leader in the world.”

CarTrawler technology connects

CarTrawler’s technology links customers booking flights online with a range of ground transportation options, from bus transfer to car hire or taxi hailing services, creating a one-stop-shop for quick and easy journey planning. The benefit for the consumer is clear, but there are also significant benefits for airlines in terms of the ancillary revenue derived from offering a full retail experience: “One line of code pulls our widget code in, and that integrates directly with the airline’s system to get all the details on the passenger, on the journeys they’re about to make or, for example, when they’re checking in. That one line of code enables the airline to provide the entire shopping experience for their consumers.”

And it’s all done by CarTrawler: “Ancillary revenue is further down the priority order for our customers’ in-house technology teams, so by making it a simple thing to do, they don’t need to undertake a big IT project themselves. That decoupling of the technology problem from the revenue opportunity is what we do.”

Providing technology (and revenue) solutions for their partners requires a focus on innovation, and Bobby agrees that this is critical for CarTrawler: “The best customer a B2B business can ever have for a new product is their existing customers. So the more products we can invent, the more revenue we’re going to make from the existing customer base.”

A recent example of this is a taxi hailing product that the company developed, which was imediately switched on for existing customers, including Emirates Airlines. Bobby adds, “That was a natural extension of our existing relationship with them. Innovation is our pipeline and we have two ways of looking at that – new customers for existing products, and new products for existing customers. We absolutely have to get the R&D and the innovation right.”

Growth market

CarTrawler works with partners all over the world providing this unique suite of high-quality products, “Our focus has always been Europe and the bulk of our business is in Europe, but Southeast Asia and Australia and New Zealand have been very good markets for us. We power the largest low-cost carrier in Southeast Asia, AirAsia, across eight different markets. Japan has also been very strong for us. Car drivers and car hire penetrations are lower in Asia than in Europe or North America but they’re growing and so too is the use of online engines to book ground transportation.”

The company also has plans to expand into a market they have not previously focused on: “We’ve recently signed some major partnerships, including the second largest partner we’ve ever signed with, in North America, and that is going to get a lot more of our focus over the next two years – we’re building a sizable team in North America to really deliver a lot more from that market.”

As the largest, most successful company in the world at what they do, CarTrawler’s team has a lot to be proud of: “Ryanair, Emirates, Virgin Australia and Hawaiian Airlines – one hundred plus airlines around the world depend on us for a major source of their profit, and that’s a pretty amazing achievement, all from Dundrum in Dublin.”

Bobby’s also very proud of the company’s commitment to diversity: “I’m particularly proud that there are more women working in CarTrawler than men. We’ve been really good at getting that balance right, being a really good opportunity for people living in Ireland to build great careers in one of the most entrepreneurial businesses in the country.”

For the future, CarTrawler’s new management team has a strong growth plan for a business that, even with the scale it has achieved, is still just scratching the surface of what’s possible: “Most people still book those products directly with providers and so our aim is to shift those customers to a proper retail experience where they get better choice, better value, better information on their products and the transaction is easier. We want to be the biggest channel as well as the biggest operator. Currently, the biggest channel is direct to suppliers, and that’s the huge opportunity for our business, to change that mix.”

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