The founder of Active Hotels, which later became part of booking.com, Andy Phillipps, received the top honour at the sixth Travolution Awards held in London last night.
Now chairman of Reevoo, the review specialist which had earlier scooped the best technology supplier gong, Phillipps joined the likes of lastminute.com founder Brent Hoberman and easyJet founder Stelios Haji Ioannou in being given the Travolution Achievement accolade.
Reading the citation Simon Ferguson, UK regional director of award sponsor Travelport, said Phillipps had earned the right to take his place alongside some of the great entrepreneurs of the online travel sector.
He said he was quick to recognise the potential of a fragmented hotel sector in the digital age. Phillipps eventually sold Active Hotels to Priceline for $161 million in 2004.
He remained with the company until 2005, the year before it changed its name to booking.com and became a key driving force in making Priceline the world’s most valuable travel company today.
One of the biggest cheers of the night was reserved for a possible Andy Phillipps of the future; Web Applications’ chief Craig Dean who was picked out as one to watch being named Travolution Rising Star 2012.
A total of 30 awards were handed out on the night by comedian and actor Marcus Brigstocke. The full list of winners has been published on the Travolution website.
Among multiple winners wasTravel Republic which won the award for best travel agent website and was named 2012 Brand Of The Year marking sustained growth throughout the last seven years and its buyout by Emirates Group subsidiary dnata in December.
Budget airline easyJet celebrated taking the best travel app award and the consumer-voted Teletext Holidays award for best airline site and P&O Cruises took the Teletext award for best cruise website and the Travolution judged award for best cruise line website.
Rival operator Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s trade website Cruising for Excellence scooped the award for best trade website.
The highly competitive marketing awards, which were judged via a live pitching process, saw Designate, Nucleus, Lbi and Center Parks.
The awards ceremony took place in The Troxy, an Art Deco former cinema in east London, continuing Travolution’s policy of taking the awards to alternative venues having been at The Roundhouse music venue in Camden last year and Battersea Power Station in 2010.
As on that night the evening supported Nacoa, the charity which helps children of alcoholic parents.
Travolution editor Lee Hayhurst said: “The Travolution Awards has become an important part of the annual round of industry events and offers something truly alternative to the many more mainstream awards ceremonies.
“It attracts a different, younger and technologically savvy audience which is precisely what is intended for an awards that was set up to recognise those companies and people forging the future of the travel sector.
“We had some tremendous feedback on the night which is great reward for all the hard work put in by our events team and everyone associated with the awards, including the judges to whom we are extremely grateful for their hard work in deciding on the winners.”