The travel and tourism industry accounted for over 10% of all economic activities across the world as of 2018. This industry is the second-largest spending category for companies next to payroll. However, the booking experience is yet to be improved since the first wave of travel tech startups including Kayak and Expedia. Now, consumers visit several websites before they make a booking and most business trips are booked via phone or email.
There are several new online travel agents that are mushrooming to make the process of booking trips less fragmented. Still, it remains tough to access airline data and create packages meeting clients’ expectations due to inadequate APIs. The British travel tech company Duffel represents the biggest shakeup in the sector with its budget air travel service.
Plans to launch an innovative booking platform
Duffel has just announced that it secured $30 million (nearly €27 million) Series B funding in a round led by Index Ventures, which backs the Dutch fintech Adyen, apart from Slack and Dropbox. The existing investors such as Blossom Capital and Benchmark Capital.
Founded in 2017 by Steve Domin, Tom Bates, and Vincent Pastor, the British travel tech startup will use this investment to launch its innovative new booking platform with the world’s biggest airlines such as Lufthansa Group, American Airlines, Aegean Airlines, British Airways, Vueling, and Iberia.
Furthermore, Duffel will use the investment to hire more engineers and broaden its team. The company focuses on expanding its presence in Europe and North America. Already, its first customers are from the UK, US, Canada, Germany, France, and Spain.
Brings airlines together!
Similar to how fintech companies connect the fragmented world of finance and payments, Duffel brings airlines together so that travel agents can offer an end-to-end experience for their clients. The online and mobile travel companies such as corporate travel bookers can see live seat availability from the big airlines, get luggage allocations, and additional offers on in-flight meals.
Works closely with IATA
The International Air Transport Association (IATA), which is the trade association for the global airlines is working on a programme to address the industry’s current distribution restrictions. It has created an industry-standard called NDC (New Distribution Capability) that transforms the way air products are retailed via the use of modern XML technology. The recently funded travel tech startup Duffel works closely with IATA with this initiative and has the potential to mimic what open banking did to the fintech in the travel industry.
“One of the objectives of the NDC standard is to foster innovation and competition in the distribution landscape. Duffel represents both, and we identified them as a key player in the marketplace as they can contribute to accelerate volume growth, in particular by connecting new types of sellers” said Olivier Hours, Head Industry Distribution Programs Adoption, IATA.
Main image picture credits: Duffel
Stay tuned to Silicon Canals for more European technology news.