In addition to 25 Irish Travel Trade Award winners, Friday night’s celebrations will also reveal the winner of this year’s Irish Travel Industry Entrepreneur of the Year Award. The nominated finalists are Blue Insurances, BookaBed and CarTrawler.
The judging panel for this year’s Irish Travel Industry Entrepreneur of the Year Award comprises Catherine Grennell-Whyte, representing the Association of Foreign Airlines; Liam Lonergan, Managing Director, Club Travel (last year’s award winner); and Ronan Flood, Managing Director, Belgrave Group, publishers of Irish Travel Trade News; with Stephen Murray of Grant Thornton as independent, non-voting chairman.
Each of the three judges initially put forward three nominations and these nine were then discussed and Blue Insurances, BookaBed and CarTrawler shortlisted as finalists. These three were then asked to complete a questionnaire prepared by Grant Thornton and their responses are being scored, according to a prepared points basis, again separately by the three judges. These scores will be independently and confidentially combined by Grant Thornton and the winner announced at the Irish Travel Industry Christmas Party in the Burlington Hotel.
Blue Insurances, when established in 2003 by Joint Managing Directors Ciaran Mulligan and Rowan Devereux, initially focused on the travel insurance market through the travel trade. It has since grown to be a leading supplier not only of travel insurance but also of car hire excess insurance, motor breakdown cover, pet and gadget insurance, and wedding insurance.
In 2005 a Cardiff office was opened and operations began within the UK and Northern Ireland travel trade, in 2006 a new distribution arm began developing online white label booking sites, and in 2007 Blue Insurances started developing the other insurance products listed above. The company also arranges insurance bonding and travel agents/tour operators office, liability and professional indemnity insurance.
BookaBed.ie is Ireland’s largest accommodation wholesaler and prides itself on great rates and great service. The company’s new and improved website has all the features and functionality that travel agents need when dynamically packaging exactly what their clients require. The accommodation stock includes clients’ favourite properties in the most popular cities, in beach destinations such as Lanzarote, Tenerife, Egypt and Turkey, in city break destinations such as Paris, Rome, London, and Prague, and further afield destinations including the USA, Mexico, the Caribbean, the Far East and Australia.
BookaBed.ie was launched in 2006 by Karl Tyrrell and Jackie Clynch and since then has seen significant growth, achieved on the back of hard work, continual investment in technology and great support from the Irish travel trade.
CarTrawler is the first company to provide a next-generation car rental distribution system, specialising solely in car rental solutions, enabling increased revenues for its customers and suppliers. The company offers the largest selection of car rental options from over 550 leading and independent car rental suppliers in 171 countries in 30,000 city and airport locations, in 30 languages, quoting in multiple currencies, through the customer’s existing website and brand identity, ensuring high levels of consumer conversion, repeat bookings and brand protection.
CarTrawler’s target customers include airlines, accommodations, online travel agents, information websites, travel and transportation sites, and retail travel agents. The company’s award-winning travel technology and car rental expertise has been proven globally with a large number of international airlines and online customers. CarTrawler also works with technology partners, including Datalex and SITA, who resell the technology to the airline industry.