GroundLink: Travel Innovation Summit

Company Name: GroundLink

Official Website: http://www.groundlink.com/

What do they do? GroundLink is an aggregator of more than 45,000 independent ground transportation vendors – including limousines, taxis, vans, shuttles, buses, car rental, and ride-sharing. Customers can rate services after use to help GroundLink offer more tailored search results to future customers. The B2C component of GroundLink’s product line is an iPhone app.

Are they a business-to-business (B2B) company, or business-to-consumer (B2C)? B2B and B2C

Founder(s): Alex Mashinsky is the founder, CEO, and Director of GroundLink. Mashinsky previously founded several other companies, including Arbinet-telexchange.

Date Founded: 2003

Presentation Notes: GroundLink is a ground transportation aggregator, giving travelers all options for ground transport between any two points in the world – including limos, taxis, shuttles, coaches, and even armored cars. They’re global, in 172 countries, and in most places they only need one hour advance notice in order to book transportation. Because individual drivers/companies will deal with GroundLink regularly, they’re less likely to try to cheat them with “tourist prices” (as some taxi drivers are notorious for doing) – so the idea is you’re going to get a better deal than if you tried to haggle with a driver you’d never see again. There’s an iPhone app that allows booking in real-time, an online version, and a phone booking option. Users are shown all potential options for a route – one that the system thinks is best suited to you, and then all the others below that.

Why should/shouldn’t travelers care? For travelers who want to organize everything in advance, or who hate the idea of haggling, or who might be afraid of dealing with some city’s famously dodgy cab drivers, booking ground transport before leaving home (or through an intermediary while on the road) sounds appealing. It’s not completely clear (at least to me) why drivers and companies would sign up with GroundLink if they stand a better chance of haggling in real-time with travelers (and potentially charging them more).



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