Irish travel tech start-up Likewhere, whose backers include Realex Payments founder Colm Lyon, is looking to raise €800,000 as it seeks to capitalise on a number of recent big contract wins with the likes of Aer Lingus. Airbus and Hilton Hotels.
Established by Simon Dempsey in 2013, Likewhere is looking to take total funding to date to €1.4 million with the new round.
The Dublin-based company, whose other backers include CarTrawler's chief technology officer Bobby Healy and Enterprise Ireland, offers personalised content marketing solutions for travel and lifestyle brands.
Likewhere has this week announced a new deal to provide Aer Lingus with a personalised “live like a local” digital mobile-based service that recommends places to visit based on the lifestyle preferences of individuals.
The solution offers recommendations from locals for visitors to cities based on understanding what they like to do at home.
“We analyse cities, interpret how they feel in human terms, then match the right location to the right customer,” is how Mr Dempsey pitches the company.
Describing how the concept works, Mr Dempsey told The Irish Times if an individual were to state they like hanging out at bars and restaurants near Dame Lane in Dublin for example, Likewhere's solutions would be able to recommend areas with a similar vibe in other cities around the globe.
In addition to including recommendations from humans, Likewhere’s technology also makes use of machine learning and artificial intelligence to help find activities that visitors would like to participate in.
The company’s solution can be integrated with travel companies’ mobile apps, website and email campaigns with some brands using it on a white label basis.
Likewhere recently won out over more than 50 other tech start-ups in a competition at London’s Traveltech Lab and is now working with global hotel chain Hilton to incorporate its solution into its travel inspiration site Hilton Explore for a number of destinations. The move comes as both established companies and disruptors such as Airbnb look to move beyond just providing accommodation to offering tailor-made ‘experiences’.
“Our products are really about matching an audience with their perfect version of a city,” said Mr Dempsey .
He said travel and lifestyle brands are having to increasingly change the way they position themselves to adapt to changing consumer trends.
“There has been a major move in terms of the way people consume travel away from just following a tourist trail to an expectation for an truly authentic local experience,” he said.
“Everyone now wants to find their own version of a city and want to co-create the story rather than just enjoy someone’s experience. Big brands need to tap into this if they want to have a strong relationship with travellers,” Mr Dempsey added.