TripAdmit wants to save tourists from queuing for hours for experiences

25 Nov 2019

From left: John Maguire and Andrew Kelly. Image: TripAdmit

Our Start-up of the Week is TripAdmit, a solution for B2B distribution partners such as airlines, hotels and loyalty programmes to earn ancillary revenue from tours and activities.

TripAdmit is a start-up that’s looking for a chunk of the €150bn that goes into the tours and activities industry each year.

This sector of the travel industry is the third-largest and is worth more than car rental, package holidays and cruises combined. The main targets for TripAdmit are airlines, hotel groups and loyalty programmes looking to offer experiences to their customer base.

TripAdmit’s CEO John Maguire told “At present there are more than 800 airlines in the world, and many more hotels. Airlines are continuously seeking out new and innovative ways to earn ancillary revenue, and we will provide the solution on a global scale, similar to their existing car rental and hotel partnerships.”

So how does it work?

Maguire said: “We offer live availability for the top attractions around the globe. Our API connections provide access to over 50,000 experiences, ensuring all destinations are covered comprehensively.”

The start-up understands that last-minute availability is one of the keys to success in the experiences industry and has developed an API that ensures that customers don’t miss out on anything that might spring up at the last minute.

TripAdmit’s CEO said: “I worked in online sales and marketing for more than 20 years and had seen first-hand the migration of the travel industry online; from airlines, hotels, car hire and even the B&B sector. Yet, the tours and activities sector is still largely offline.

When setting up TripAdmit, the founder said: “This is all about timing. I could see the experiences sector was following the same evolution as its travel predecessors and that a technology-driven online migration was commencing in this space.

“Rather than looking at it from the outside, this time I wanted to be part of it and take advantage of one of the few sectors left that offered such a giant opportunity.”

While discussing the technology behind TripAdmit, Maguire said: “We want to satisfy the demand from tourists to buy their tours, tickets and activities online and not to have to wait in line at a ticket desk for hours on end to get to the top attractions.

“We will focus on utilising data to build models to deliver the right product to the right customer at the right time. At present, dynamic pricing and yield management are not utilised in this sector. We are using our experience of the travel industry to change the way products and pricing are offered to the end users.”

Maguire added: “We offer deep integration with our clients from a branding, product and data perspective to achieve greater conversion rates.”

The team

Prior to founding TripAdmit, Maguire oversaw the design and marketing for companies such as Ticketmaster, Aer Lingus and O2. He previously held senior positions in the experiences industry as a group e-commerce director at Smartbox and most recently as vice-president of sales and marketing at City Wonders.

Maguire founded the company with Andrew Kelly, who now serves as CTO.

Kelly has extensive experience in the fields of artificial intelligence and cognitive science. He has been involved in developing award-winning apps and solutions for more than 15 years and was part of the development team of the Xbox and Office marketplaces. The TripAdmit CTO also has significant experience in the translation technology space and in the internationalisation of digital brands.

Maguire told “We are in the final stages of going live with the product and have a solid pipeline of potential customers, including airlines, accommodation providers and utilities companies in Ireland and abroad. Our first customer is a European airline from outside Ireland.”

Reflecting on the past and looking to the future

Like most start-ups in their early stages, TripAdmit has met its share of bumps along the journey.

Maguire said: “The main challenge was figuring out where to start. Our industry experience has helped us greatly in getting up and running and the supports from the various agencies has been tremendous. There are lots of supports in Ireland for start-ups, but it’s about finding what’s right for you.”

He added: “The amount of available funding in Ireland is challenging. One thing that struck me very early on as a start-up in Ireland, is that people are always willing to help, from advice to introductions to potential customers – the power of a good network is immense.”

The founder believes that the assistance TripAdmit has gotten from NDRC’s accelerator programme has been very helpful to the business. He said: “We are now laser focused on customer needs and growth, and as a result, are much further along our growth plan.”

To date, TripAdmit has secured €150,000 in funding, according to Maguire. He said that the company is currently in discussions with a number of potential investors about a significant future seed round raise.

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Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic