New innovator: TripClocker

Olan O’Sullivan: “There is huge demand for personal, local experiences that are not ‘packaged’.”

Olan O’Sullivan: “There is huge demand for personal, local experiences that are not ‘packaged’.”

Mon, Jul 22, 2013, 01:00

“TripClocker is a booking and discovery platform for individually minded tourists and free spirits,” explains Olan O’Sullivan, who set up the fledgling company in January this year with its CTO, Ivan Garcia.

“It is aimed at helping travellers in the 24 to 40-year-old age bracket save both time and money by giving them the ability to discover and book niche experiences. Activities are often overlooked by tourism websites because they can’t be defined by just one category. We have grouped our information under six broad categories covering topics such as ‘off the beaten track’, ‘adventure’ and ‘alternative’. We also cover the more usual things such as food and wine and cultural sightseeing.”

O’Sullivan is an economist who spent time as an economic analyst in the oil industry in London. He has also worked in the venture capital sector and in corporate finance.

It was during time out to travel in 2009 that the seed for TripClocker was sown. The company, which employs five people, is based at the DIT Hothouse Incubation Centre in the Docklands Innovation Park.

Trawling for information
“A high percentage of travellers now do research and make bookings online and will usually visit a few sites to see what there is to do in a particular place. But you can spend a very long time trawling through sites to get information and it can be a very unsatisfactory experience,” O’Sullivan says. “According to Google the average traveller spends around seven hours on research and visits around 22 sites in that time. With TripClocker people can see what’s available in a location and book it.”

The company has started with Dublin as its initial destination and this will be followed by Belfast and the UK. “We are quality-controlling what’s on the site and if we approve a business they can upload images and content at no cost. We take a commission on bookings made through our site. The e-commerce functionality around this model is quite difficult but we have put a huge amount of work into back-office development and into features such as search engine optimisation.

“There is huge demand for personal, local experiences that are not ‘packaged’ or traditional tourist destinations. Our activities cover everything from jewellery-making and city kayaking to a comedy workshop, a Dublin photo tour and mountain biking in the Dublin mountains.”

TripClocker unveiled the launch version of its site in April and it is now in the process of growing its supply base and building integration with social networks and other suppliers. The company has received some financial support from DIT Hothouse and is hoping to be accepted onto Enterprise Ireland’s high potential start-up programme which would see it receive direct investment of €50,000.