The winner of the inaugural Irish Travel Industry Entrepreneur of the Year Award, presented by the Association of Foreign Airlines, the Irish Tour Operators Federation, and Irish Travel Trade News, is Liam Lonergan of Club Travel.
Outlining the methodology adopted to those attending the Irish Travel Industry Christmas Party, Ronan Flood, Managing Editor of Irish Travel Trade News, said: “In our initial discussions, the three participating bodies agreed that the judging criteria should place emphasis on entrepreneurial acumen and skills, product innovation, and proven service to the Irish travel industry. A three-stage selection process was also agreed.
“Initially, each organisation – the Association of Foreign Airlines, the Irish Tour Operators Federation, and Irish Travel Trade News – put forward three nominees for consideration, making a possible nine. In the event there was one duplication so eight individuals or companies were nominated.
“We then discussed these nominations and three finalists were short-listed – CarTrawler, Liam Lonergan of Club Travel, and Tony Judge of Clubs to Hire.
“A brief questionnaire prepared by Grant Thornton and agreed by the three organisations was then sent to each finalist. Their responses were then judged separately by the three organisations using an agreed weighted scoring system. These results were then independently and confidentially collated by Grant Thornton, and an agreed winner thus determined.”
The Three Finalists
CarTrawler was established by brothers Greg and Niall Turley and earlier this year UK private equity house ECI Partners made a substantial investment into the company.
CarTrawler is the first company to provide a next generation car rental distribution system, specialising solely in car rental solutions. The company offers car rental from over 550 car rental suppliers in 175 countries in 25,000 city and airport locations, in 29 languages, quoting in multiple currencies.
Club Travel was established by Liam Lonergan in 1971, initially traded as a tour operator, and is the original Irish specialist in consolidated, cheap and discount airfares.
Club Travel has since grown to be the largest travel management company in Ireland, currently with 125 staff and with a mix of business including consolidation, retail, corporate travel management, and brands such as HRG Ireland, Budget Travel and Destinations.
Clubs to Hire
Clubs to Hire was established by Tony Judge and Gerry McKernan in 2010 and secured the services of golf professional Paul McGinley.
Clubs to Hire enables customers to avoid the inconvenience and cost of transporting golf clubs and to choose the golf set of their dreams at airport locations – currently Alicante, Belek, Dublin, Edinburgh, Faro, Malaga and Murcia.