GroupLeader.com is a new travel technology startup co-founded by Bob Haugh of Travel Department and Fergal O’Brien. Based in Dublin, GroupLeader.com have developed a new platform that aims to take the pain out of booking group outings.
We spoke with Fergal to find out more about this new company and how they plan to make our life easier.

Q1 Hi Fergal. Can you tell me about GroupLeader.com and the people behind it?

GroupLeader.com is a new online start-up that aims to make booking and organising group travel really easy. It provides a one-stop-shop for groups to plan, book and manage their trips. GroupLeader.com was co-founded by Bob Haugh and Fergal O’Brien.

Bob has worked in the group travel business for 20 years after establishing Ireland’s top escorted holiday provider Travel Department which brings up to 50,000 people to destinations across the world annually. Four years ago, he also co-founded ClickandGo.com, an online holiday retailer which focuses on providing flexible packaged holidays.

I worked in digital marketing and broadcast media in London for 8 years, then spent two years in South Africa and the US studying for my MBA. I returned to Ireland in 2009, working in start-ups and digital until founding GroupLeader.com with Bob.

There are also five full time staff members and this will hopefully be doubled by the end of the year.

GroupLeader.com - Team

Q2 What services do you offer?

We offer a free, convenient and easy-to-use web platform for group organisers to book and manage trips. Group organisers can search for and book hotels, ground transport, tour guides and much more. Groups who use GroupLeader.com will be able to:

  • Receive great discounted group rates
  • Buy as a group and pay separately
  • Collaborate with other group members on planning the trip

Q3 For someone who wants to organise a trip, can you explain the process and the elements that make your service unique?

The process:

  1. As groups of 10 or more are quoted on a price-on-request model in the travel industry, a group organiser planning a team trip can easily send a request to a selection of shortlisted hotels meeting their requirements on GroupLeader.com.
  2. The hotels then quickly send back proposals.
  3. The group organiser invites group-members to compare the quotes.
  4. The group chooses a hotel or partner and each member pays their share of the cost into GroupLeader.com which then forwards the combined payments to the hotel.

What makes our service unique is group members can easily get group quotes from our partners, collaborate on planning the trip and pay for their share of the trip individually.

Groupleader

Q4 What are the advantages of using your service for hotels?

There are many advantages for hotels to use GroupLeader.com.

  • It is completely free to sign-up with no commitment.
  • We offer a very competitive introductory commission rate of only 5% on confirmed bookings in 2014.
  • It is a great way for hotels to get more group requests, opening up a new channel for groups business.
  • The site is so easy to use that responding to requests only takes a matter of seconds.

Q5 Is the service available for booking things other than hotels and is there any plans to add additional options in the future?

Yes. We are planning to offer Ground Transport and Tour Guides in the coming weeks. We later plan to offer other services like visitor attractions and much more! We listen intently to all the feedback we are given and are constantly working on adding new features and functionality for our partners and customers.

Q6 Initially what regions will the service cover and how many hotels can people expect to be able to choose from?

Currently we have over a thousand hotels contracted in the Ireland and the UK with many more added each day so group travel organisers have great variety to choose from.  Examples of the types of hotel brands we have on board are Radisson, Marriott, Holiday Inn, Bewley’s, Jurys Inn, Hilton and Ramada as well as individual hotels such as The Europe Hotel & Resort, Fota Island Resort, Danubius Regents Park, Corinthia Hotel London, The Merchant Hotel, The Hoxton Hotel and Hayfield Manor.

Q7 How much does the service cost to use?

There is no charge to use GroupLeader.com as a customer, it is completely free for group organisers and group members. There is no charge for our partners to be listed on our platform. They are charged only a small commission on confirmed bookings.

Q8 Considering there are most likely multiple rooms being booked as part of the process, are hotels offering discounts to people availing of your service?

Yes, by nature most group rates are discounted. As group organisers are buying ‘in bulk’, they should expect to get a discount on a typical room rate. Group rates are based on a price-on-request model. A hotel will quote a price for groups based on numerous variables which affect supply and demand such as:

  • Is there excess availability at the hotel for the dates requested?
  • How far away is the booking?
  • Is it likely that this availability will be reserved in the meantime?
  • Is there a major event on in the neighbourhood at the time?
  • Are there any other groups staying that might conflict with this group?

Q9 What are the best ways for people to get in contact with you?

If people have any enquiries about GroupLeader.com they can email us at [email protected] or visit our website during normal working hours and chat to us through our customer support widget. If a hotel is interested in signing up they can visit our Partner Page on GroupLeader.com.

 

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