Since the list was originally posted, we’ve seen two travel tech hackathons: Tnooz THack and #hackDub Airport Hackathon, as well as a dedicated Travel Tech accelerator programme launch in the DCU Ryan Academy.
Honourable mentions to the list are Dublin’s CurrencyFair and TransferMate, who facilitate international consumer and business payments; Ryanair Labs, the innovation hub of Ryanair; the development teams inside Aer Lingus and Dublin Airport, as well as travel retailers GoHop and Club Travel.
We have divided the list by major travel activities. Put on your travel shoes, pack your bag, and let’s go…
No journey can begin without booking your flight…
Founded in Ireland and billed as the “world’s leading travel distribution platform”, Datalex’s client list comprises some of the world’s best-known airlines, including Delta, JetBlue, Virgin Atlantic and our very own Aer Lingus. Publicly traded since 2000, they have built a digital marketplace for over one billion shoppers around the world.
— Datalex (@Datalex) May 16, 2016
Founded in 2005 and based in Dublin’s Silicon Docklands, MTT creates mobile apps and technologies for airlines, travel agencies and travel management companies. Customers include Singapore Airlines, BCD Travel, Saudia, LATAM (LAN Chile and TAM Brazil), easyJet, FlyBe, and eDreams ODIGEO (Europe’s largest online travel agency). MTT were acquired by multi-national travel technology and distribution company TravelPort in July 2015.
OpenJaw Technologies provide software for booking flights, hotels and other travel-related products, individually or in packages, to airlines, loyalty programs or any travel company. With an HQ in Dublin and offices in Galway, Madrid, Krakow and Hong Kong, their customers include British Airways, Aeroplan, Four Seasons, Avis/Budget Europe, S7 Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Asia Miles and Hainan Airlines. In May 2016, OpenJaw were bought by TravelSky, the largest airline technology provider in China.
4. Dynamic Res
Barack Obama was caught out over a gaffe that bricks-and-mortar travel retailers were becoming “obsolete”. In reality, only 55% of the world’s travel is booked online, leaving quite a large chunk of personal and corporate travel handled the “old fashioned” way either by agency locations or over the phone. Dynamic Res provide a revolutionary way for travel agents and travel managers to compile, price, offer and book complex travel itineraries quickly.
FeedHenry provides the tools for a number of airlines, as well as many companies outside travel, to develop, manage and deploy mobile apps and mobile web solutions, for customer or enterprise use. Founded as FeedHenry in Dublin, it was later acquired by Red Hat.
— Stephen Drake (@sdrakemobile) April 28, 2016
Have a safe (and enjoyable) flight.
The largest independent Content Service Provider (CSP) in the world happens to be based in Dublin. Inflight supply video and audio entertainment to over 50 airlines around the world, with offices in Addis Ababa, Dubai, Los Angeles, Hanoi and Dhaka.
A leading in-flight retail specialist, Retail inMotion have developed a software suite which helps airlines source and distribute products, and have a best-in-class logistics and supply chain systems.
— Retail inMotion (@RetailinMotion) May 18, 2016
Off-shoot of the Retail inMotion company, Media inMotion make disconnected electronics smarter in the air by bringing a tailored selection of movies, guides and shopping to laptops, phones and tablets at 35000 feet.
Arconics specialise in aircraft mobile applications for planes, making flying safer and more efficient. First deployed with Ryanair in 2001, their client list has since expanded to include Cathay Pacific, Qatar Airways, Aer Lingus and many more.
— Arconics (@Arconics) May 21, 2016
Rainmaker helps airlines run more efficiently by providing a “heads up display” of all of the airline’s key performance and operational metrics. The solutions measure crew performance, flight operations, and fuel efficiency for big international airlines including JetBlue, Spirit, Thomas Cook, Virgin America, Monarch and CityJet.
Flying involves a lot of paperwork, including technical and maintenance logs for every aircraft, all of which needs to comply with complex regulations. The Skypaq eLog product helps airlines distribute their technical and operational data internally to improve flight operations and regulatory compliance while reducing the need for physical paper.
12. Flightbuddy from Sentient Solutions
Airline customer service invariably suffers when things go wrong, with anything from minor technical faults to bad weather and Icelandic volcanoes disrupting individual flights or entire networks. Flightbuddy from Sentient Solutions, integrates with the airline’s reservation and flight operations systems and helps the airline communicate to passengers using emails, SMS messages and mobile app notifications.
With safety and efficiency a top priority for airlines, tracking the individual elements and checklists is a tedious task. By integrating the onboard cabin and crew systems of the aircraft with the rest of the airline’s in-house technology, Flightman helps them improve the passenger experience, operate more efficiently, gather and analyse data from diverse on-board systems and ensure regulatory / documentation compliance. Flightman provides “electronic flight bag” solutions to airlines globally, including Gol (Brazil), Aer Lingus, Oman Air, Transavia (part of Air France – KLM), and Canada’s WestJet.
On a typical flight, we wouldn’t give much thought to the lower deck. The space below the passenger seating on a Boeing 737 or Airbus A330 is a combination of avionics, landing gear, fuel tanks, room for luggage and the odd pet. The larger the plane, the more extra room down below. Used for air cargo, this is a lucrative source of revenue for an airline. To manage it all, from regulation to security to tracking, is software from companies like AirCargoSystems, based here in Dublin.
The Boeing 737, the type of aircraft flown by Ryanair, contains over 360,000 parts and that number goes up with size. During tightly-regulated aircraft maintenance checks, it’s important to keep track of the major components correctly. The same contactless technology used in your transport or credit card (based on RFID) makes this simple. ASD specialises in this RFID tracking technology, used in aircraft maintenance and other tracking applications in aviation.
A large part of many airlines’ businesses is cargo – moving goods across borders, and many retailers depend on efficient handling of imports. CustomMatters are the leading customs clearance service in Ireland and UK. They provide full control of inbound and outbound supply chain for manufacturers & distributors, integrated / standards compliant customs messaging for airlines and easier customs clearance for retailers.
Founded by Dermot Desmond in Dublin in 1999, Daon is a specialist in the facial recognition biometrics technologies used in the security industry. Among their clients are airports and immigration services who use their solutions to keep the passport queues moving after those long flights.
As you may have realised, flying aircraft is a complicated business. One important process is called “weight and balance” – this means setting the aircraft up for optimised fuel consumption based on the way passengers, cargo and fuel are loaded on the plane. Doing it well improves safety, reduces costs and makes flying better for the environment. Working with customers like SITA, Etihad and SAS, Liberator.aero is a Dublin company helping airlines reduce CO2 emissions and improve safety by analysis of their load sheet data, departure control systems (DCS), and weight and balance information.
Planitas help airline customers to collate their sales, bookings, tickets, frequent flyers and other commercial data into one central database. It enables airlines such as Hawaiian Airlines, CityJet and JetBlue, make better decisions and carry out essential accounting activities such as “proration”. That’s the mechanism by which airlines pay for other airlines tickets, allowing you to have multiple (connecting) flights on a single ticket.
SITA are a multi-national provider of IT and network services to airports and airlines, that dates back to 1949 when it was founded by 11 airlines. However, SITA Ireland is a result of the 2003 acquisition of Dublin & Letterkenny based startup, Eland Technologies from founders Bobby Healy (now Cartrawler) and Andreas Cornelissen. The Letterkenny office remains a significant R&D and development centre for SITA.
Founded in Dublin in 2004, this joint venture between SITA and the Irish Government, manages the international aircraft registry mandated by ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation) and the Cape Town Treaty. The registry keeps track of who owns the world’s airplanes, engines and helicopters.
Back on the ground, going forward.
Founded in Dublin and used by travel companies around the world, Cartrawler has offices in Boston, London and Dublin and is backed by BC Partners and Insight Venture Partners. The car hire software company was founded in 2004 and has rapidly expanded in recent years, acquiring Finnish transfer software startup Cabforce in 2015.
— CarTrawler (@CarTrawler) May 20, 2016
Mobacar is a car rental distribution platform that allows airlines and online travel agencies to sell car rental and airport transfer services, using artificial intelligence to select the best possible offers. Founded in Kerry at the start of 2014, it won the Phocuswright European Travel Innovator of the Year award that same year. Mobacar provides car rental services from 650 suppliers, at more than 30,000 locations around the world.
Built by a team of technologists and researchers based in Dublin, Indigo targets the difficult ‘last mile’ of a passenger’s journey, such as taxis, trains, coach and shuttles, making it easy to book and easy to sell for leading travel brands. Indigo scored an award from Phocuswright and IATA last year and publishes an app and website for consumers, called CityHook.
— CityHook (@cityhook) October 22, 2015
A ‘revolution in car sharing’, Good Travel Software is very much on the rise. Their product, DropCar, maximises revenue from car sharing fleets using yield management techniques. Their other product, Wayfarer, is a car share booking platform.
This NDRC Launchpad graduate solves the very real problem of how to order a taxi in a foreign language country. They started as a consumer facing product and pivoted a couple of years later to become a B2B business developing a cloud based dispatch platform with a SaaS model. They have just moved into new offices in the former Superquinn head office in Sutton.
— iCabbi (@iCabbi) May 20, 2016
Another NDRC graduate, Commutable provides a very useful service for those who live or are travelling in Dublin. Commutable launched the transport app that Dublin never had, Hit the Road, back in 2010. Since then it has evolved into geospatial and transport technology product development, which includes products such as the National Express coach tracker service.
Similar to Hit the Road, but for the entirety of Ireland, GetThere provides a single hub for transport in Ireland, combining rail, bus, private coaches and lift sharing. They launched in 2008 and update constantly.
Carma is a technology company that helps ease traffic congestion by allowing commuters to share journeys. Think of it as carsharing, done with the ease of Hailo but the personal touch of Airbnb. Funded by RTE Dragon and Mapping entrepreneur Sean O’Sullivan, Carma is based in Cork and has operations in New York.
The first company to bring car sharing to Dublin. You may have seen GoCar’s distinctive vehicles or reserved parking spots around the city. A simple signup process gets you a magic card that lets you drive away in one of 100+ cars around the city for a quick run to the shops or the open road for the weekend.
— GoCar (@GoCarIreland) May 18, 2016
Beginning within the niche of hostel bookings, Hostelworld has since defied their name to become the go-to website for finding accommodation at campsites, B&Bs and yes, hostels around the world. They have offices in Dublin and Shanghai and were founded in 1999, operating in over 180 countries.
— Hostelworld (@hostelworld) May 20, 2016
Based at Stephen’s Green in the centre of Dublin, Homestay is an online platform for booking accommodation in people’s homes. The host is present during the visitor’s stay, offering hospitality and local knowledge. The site launched in 2013, with investment from Delta Partners and Enterprise Ireland.
GoCambio allows you to exchange skills and teach, in return for accommodation. For hosts, it is a bit like Airbnb but instead of making cash for the spare room, they learn to cook a new meal or get started playing the guitar. Language skills, in particular, are much sought after by hosts.
— GoCambio (@GoCambio) May 21, 2016
Founded in Dublin in 2004, Roomex specialises in providing hotel bookings for business travellers. Companies in the US, UK and Ireland, use it to look after accommodation for employees travelling around the world. Roomex provides an easy to use web-based booking tool, rate comparisons, and “duty of care” reports indicating where business travellers are in times of emergency.
The booking engine for premium hotels was founded in Dublin in 2002, partnering with hotels to grow their direct channel business. They work with an illustrious client list of over 350 hotels around Europe, the UK and North America.
Bookassist is a digital strategy agency catering exclusively to hotels. Founded in Dublin in 1999, they now operate offices in Paris, Madrid, Rome, Vienna and Prague and have won multiple World Travel Awards.
An award-winning international tech, design and marketing company which works exclusively with hotels, NetAffinity’s services include a hotel booking engine, website design and marketing services.
Makers of the iHotel property management system (PMS), an online booking system for rooms and facilities, and a hotel distribution software. All those run entirely on the “cloud” (software as a service), meaning that everything the hotelier needs is accessed via the web. Founded in 2009 with a head office in Dublin, their customers include independent luxury properties throughout the UK and Ireland.
39. HotelBench and HostelBench
Started in 2012, this Dublin-based company provides the HotelBench and HostelBench online services. These allow hostel and hotel managers to track important benchmarks (such as occupancy and revenue) and use the data to make better decisions, especially when it comes to pricing beds and rooms.
All those other bookings, beyond the essentials.
Covering over 70,000 conference venues in over 130 countries, MeetingsBooker makes it easy to book anything from locations for conferences to single meeting rooms. Founded in 2008, they have offices in Dublin and San Francisco.
Old-fashioned booking technology has a hard time going beyond nine passengers. Even today most online travel booking systems can’t handle groups. Groopeze makes group booking work just like it should. For parks, hotels, attractions and resorts, they provide the group reservation with less manual labour, easier payment processing (including deferred payment), and RSVP/name tracking.
— Eithne Harley (@EithneHarley) April 20, 2016
Launched earlier this year, SimplyFly aims to simplify airport retail with a streamlined shopping app. Based in Dublin, they have investment from Google Ventures, Enterprise Ireland and Intelligentsia Ventures.
Trekksoft joins Dublin following the acquisition of Dublin-based Acteavo in 2015. Aimed at the “tours and activities” sector of the travel business, Trekksoft lets tour professionals and business owners manage their bookings in one streamlined, cost-reducing, time-efficient dashboard.
More than 85% of those leaving Ireland travel using Ryanair or Aer Lingus. It seems natural that a comparison service would spring up, mining fares from the two Irish airlines. A free smartphone app which broadcasts live, up-to-the-minute information, Comparethefare.ie was launched in 2014.
The unsexy part of the journey, simplified.
Monex founder Frank Murphy created Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) in 1996, first implementing it with Hertz rent-a-car in Ireland. Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) provides currency conversion before the charge gets back to the bank, giving better exchange rates and a choice of payment currency. Monex is now a global FinTech company with major travel customers like Ryanair, Hertz, Europcar, Hilton Hotels, and the Marriott Group.
— MONEX FS (@MONEXFS) February 2, 2016
Another important FinTech and travel crossover, FexCo specialises in foreign exchange and payment processing software, providing DCC, and multi-currency pricing (MCP) to airlines, agencies, hotels and transport companies globally. The headquarters is in Kerry and they boast offices in Dublin, the UK, Spain, New Zealand, US, Middle East and Asia.
Since 2005 ContinuumCommerce has provided DCC and multi-currency pricing (MCP) to airlines including Etihad, Monarch and KLM, and partner up with many of the industry’s largest reservations system providers including Navitaire, Amadeus, and RADIX.
Solving the very relatable problem of that handful of foreign change you end up stuck with at the end of a holiday, Coindrum stock airports with self-service machines which convert your loose change into airport shopping vouchers. They’re based in Dublin’s Barrow Street and were founded in 2012. Investors include Irelandia founder Declan Ryan.
— Kevin Rozario (@krozworld) April 25, 2016
49. Realex Payments
A crucial part of any travel retailer’s website or mobile app is the ability to process payments, which is where payment service providers (PSPs) like Ireland’s own Realex Payments come in. Customers include Aer Lingus, Virgin Atlantic and Accor hotels.
The fun bit of traveling.
StayPal helps hotels provide guest services within the hotel’s branded mobile app (IOS or Android), as well as provide guests information and offers for hotel facilities like spa, golf, or local attractions like tours and activities attractions.
Primarily an OTA (online travel agency) specialising in surf holidays, as the name suggests, Dublin-based Surfholidays also provide booking technology for accommodation and surf schools as well as clever consumer search tools like Search Trip Finder.
Headquartered in Dublin and founded in 2004, CityWonders has the simple mission to take guided tours to the next level with expert guides, exclusive access to historic sites, and a focus on quality rather than quantity. With brands such as Dark Room and My Parisian Tour, they provide tours in six languages in Rome, Paris, London, Venice, Florence and Milan.
— CNBC Travel (@CNBCtravel) March 29, 2016
While you are having fun traveling, travel businesses deal with all your travel related data.
This Irish SaaS travel company produces “data that’s going places”, offering a cloud-based solution for managing data, CRM and analytics. Last year they struck a deal with Ryanair and expanded to a second office in Boston, also counting Air New Zealand and eDreams among their clients.
Travel and retail brands increasingly talk about “omnichannel”, the (often elusive) ability to provide a consistent set of products and services on any user interface the customer experiences, including mobile, website, over the phone, or in-store. Unravel Analytics provide the tools for retailers and travel brands to aggregate and understand their customer no matter where they are, what device they are using, or how many separate visits they make to the different channels.
— Unravel (@UnravelYourData) May 15, 2016
Pulsate is a data analytics and marketing tool which allows retailers and travel brands to understand customers better and make personalised offers and campaigns based on their current location, past behaviour, and known preferences. Their marketing platform is specifically designed to work with “beacons”, little radio devices. Airports are increasingly using beacon technology to improve passenger experience and retailing revenue.
LikeWhere produces software which aims to understand customers and offer them recommendations for travel retail. The software gives businesses detailed insights through an ‘intelligence layer’ of data.
— LikeWhere (@LikeWhere) October 19, 2015
B-Smark offers a service to build “user personas” (models of user types) in an automated way and with little data to begin. Recently, they created a new version of their service targeted directly at the travel industry.
— RT MySmark (@RTMySmark) October 22, 2015
58. BizTweet / TIC
Winner of a 2014 IATA Passenger Experience Award, BizTweet helps airports and high-volume passenger businesses deal effectively with mass communications over social media platforms such as Twitter.
Founded in 2009 (as Betapond), StitcherAds provide a platform for advertising on Facebook, and other social media channels. While not exclusively travel, a significant portion of their revenue comes from the industry, with dedicated travel tech development in their Waterford office. Big customers include multiple airlines, OTAs and brands such as Marriott, TripAdvisor, Hotels.com (Expedia), and TravelZoo.
Amazingly, all of the above companies are home grown Irish businesses, but over the years, several international companies have chosen to join our travel tech eco-system and base development and R&D centres here in Ireland.
Known as one of the largest brands in car rental, Hertz is present in over 150 countries around the world. That translates into 4400 rental locations. Hidden in a leafy corner of North County Dublin, Hertz hosts hundreds of staff in a dedicated operations centre, including an in-house development team to manage all European activity.
The California company, Airbnb opened an office in Dublin in 2013, employing an initial 300 staff and announcing a further 200 hires and expansion last year with a new ‘warehouse’ HQ at Hanover Quay. Likely the biggest news story in travel tech at the moment, Airbnb are reported to have raised $1 billion in funding, putting their valuation at $24 billion.
Specialising in reviews for restaurants, hotels and attractions, the world’s largest travel site opened an engineering hub in Dublin’s Docklands in 2013. The Dublin office is TripAdvisor’s largest operation outside their US headquarters. The company has recently moved beyond reviews and into booking.
— TripAdvisor (@TripAdvisor) May 17, 2016
63. Lonely Planet
Long before mobile maps, smartphones and humane roaming costs, the only way to blend in and get around while traveling was to hang out with locals or to fly equipped with a guidebook. Lonely Planet started as the publisher of the ubiquitous blue travel books, founded in Belfast in the 1970’s, but moved to online and mobile publishing when technology evolved. They host a small development and content team here in Dublin.
With an excellent mapping product launched by the Sydney team and flight search initiated by the team in Boston (based on technology from their acquisition of ITA), Google’s reach into the travel sector is immense, with contributions from software engineers and content developers alike. They are often described as the biggest company in the travel industry and based on AdWords revenue from travel-related search terms alone, this may very well be true.
— Phocuswright (@Phocuswright) May 19, 2016
The analytics company processes commercial data, making travel-related advertising more efficient at reaching the right customers. Dublin is home to its EMEA headquarters, while Adara also has offices in London, New York, Boston, Chicago, California, and Singapore and Dublin.