Lee Hayhurst reports from the Travo@10 Start-up summit in London, sponsored by Travelport and Cheapflights and hosted at at News UK’s new offices.
Getting the right technology in place can be one of the toughest challenges for any travel start-up.
Stewart Baird, chief executive of Stone Ventures, which established travel-focused investor Pebble Travel in 2014, said: “Technology is probably my biggest headache in almost every business.
“We tend to look at businesses more on the niche side, where the intellectual property or the knowhow is what the consumer is paying for.
“I really struggle to understand why technology companies have made it so difficult for us to create tailor-made packages. It’s just hard work, it really is.
“In every business we’ve invested in, we’ve had to replace the systems – booking, distribution, web frontend and CRM platform – all generally in the first year.”
Sam Bruce, co-founder of Much Better Adventures, said the firm took a long time to find its own in-house chief technology officer.
“We were outsourcing our tech and it cost us six months. We had an agency that would send us the work back two weeks later, by which time we didn’t need it,” he said.
Bruce said it was vital that the firm’s technology was simple to use by its small, in-destination suppliers.
“A lot of technology for these businesses is very convoluted. They have an off-the-shelf system and use about 1% of it.
“We want our technology to get to the point where a host could be on a ski lift and confirm a booking in one tap.”