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Pitch Perfect: Meet Ireland’s standout tech innovators who are changing how we travel

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Today, more than 700 parks having signed up across the UK and Ireland to date. And more joining the movement every day.

DUBLIN, IRELAND - Want to peek behind the curtain at tomorrow’s hottest travel technology innovations? Look no further than Enterprise Ireland’s inaugural Pioneer Travel Tech Award and competition held March 28, 2018 in Dublin.

From the founders of startups with small and very ambitious beginnings and high-potential standouts from across Ireland, to internationally-recognized industry analysts, investment principals and representatives from the major U.S. airlines and hotel chains, more than 75 travel industry change makers came together at the invitation-only conference, #IrishTravelTech, at Enterprise Ireland’s headquarters.

At a time when travel is an incredibly challenging industry, the passion and high return potential of these trailblazers, speaks volumes about Ireland’s fast-growing role as a leader in the transformation, said Maire P. Walsh, SVP Digital Technologies, Enterprise Ireland. With 33 offices in its international network, Enterprise Ireland focuses on helping organic Irish businesses succeed domestically and internationally. The latest findings from the State of European Tech 2017 report confirm that Ireland has the fastest-growing tech worker population in Europe and that it ranks in the top 10 European countries for DeepTech investment.

The vast array of talent in this room shows the potential Ireland has as a thriving start-up community that is getting stronger every year,” said Walsh.

Founders like Finan O’Donoghue of Campsighted.com and the first-place winner of the #PioneerTravelTechAward gave a glimpse of the best and brightest.

Hotels have Booking.com. The self-stay market has Airbnb.com. But there’s no great place on the Web for a comprehensive choice of bookable campsites around the world. Born of his own personal frustration trying to plan a family holiday in the great outdoors, he created Campsited in 2015. Today, more than 700 parks having signed up across the UK and Ireland to date. And more joining the movement every day.

The lively shark tank-type forum gave the Campsited.com founder and five other vanguard tech leaders from Enterprise Ireland’s incubator pool the opportunity to showcase their recent achievements, industry recognition and most importantly, technological and market relevance.

Other contestants included: TravTab, a white label payment App that facilitates customer’s payments to their travel agency to pay off their vacation; Sanctifly, a global members’ club that grants exclusive access to airport hotels’ fitness and relaxation facilities, before, after or in between long flight; Bonflite, which offers a duty free platform as a solution for airline passengers to purchase items at any point throughout their journey; Indigo.gt, a booking platform for connections to and through the world’s leading airports to ground transportation; Boxever, a customer intelligence cloud that connects all of a traveler’s customer, product and operational data to personalize the travel experience at every step and Cartrawler, which provides car rental, private transfer and rail operations channels.

The innovations were presented to a panel including: JetBlueVentures’ Christina Heggie, Dave Canty, VP Global Loyalty Programs, Intercontinental Hotel Group, Conor O’Sullivan, Head of Product for Datalex, Naill McEvoy, Manager of High Potential Startups for Enterprise Ireland, Vikram Rajagopalan, Innovation Strategy for Delta Air Lines and Michael Smith, Managing Partner, Airline Information.

Throughout the day, the trailblazers shared tried-and-true strategies for innovation and ancillary revenues. From Heggie’s five emerging trends driving industry transformation to analyst Henry Harteveldt’s insights for opportunity in the face of the steady decline in traveler loyalty, to TravelTechLabs John McQuillan on how to work with blockchain and Bobby Healy, cartrawler and his keynote on “Creating the Amazon of Travel.” Panels with experts from Facebook, Booking.com, Intercontinental Health Group, and American, Southwest and Delta airlines, shared insights including making the customer, not the brand, the hero in today’s consumer journey and how travelers measure their experiences against the brands they use in their everyday lives.

"Bringing together some of the largest travel organizations in the world with our best up-and-coming companies presents a valuable opportunity for all participants to extend their network and learn how they can enhance their businesses’ value proposition and ultimately their bottom line,” said Walsh

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