DestinationCTO About About the editor

About the editor

On the basis you probably should know about who is behind this publication, here is too much detail about the editor…

Alex Bainbridge

Alex founded TourCMS, the original leader in tours & activities online travel agent distribution providing reservation system and distribution technology to hundreds of local tour operators, and ran that business for 10 years until its successful sale in October 2015.

Highlights of this period include working with the industry leading sightseeing brand GrayLine providing online travel agent distribution services from 2012 onwards (TourCMS still runs this service today). In multi-day tour distribution Alex created, with TourRadar, the first industry end-to-end solution connecting live reservation system availability with travel agent distribution.

Global industry firsts during this time:

  • First to Software as a Service (SaaS) tours & activity reservation platform (2006/7) – alongside Rezgo
  • First reservation system connection to Expedia, GetYourGuide, HotelBeds, Veltra & TourRadar – i.e. most of the leading intermediary platforms of the era used Alex’s expertise for their first supplier connectivity projects

In 2016, Alex launched Uptaste – a local food tour & experience aggregator / travel agency

in 2018, Alex launched Autoura – an autonomous vehicle sightseeing platform – another industry first

Alex wrote the Musings on Travel Ecommerce blog from 2007 to 2009 (424 posts) and wrote for tnooz (71 posts) 2009 to 2017. Alex occasionally now writes for Phocuswire.

Alex has run six tour & activity industry-wide pitch evenings at World Travel Market (2011-2016) on behalf of the Small Fish Big Ocean forum (and as part of the TourCMS business). Creating community around the local tour sector is part of his DNA.

Alex still writes code on a daily basis. Currently builds apps using Ionic / Angular / VueJS. He believes innovations are more likely to be technical than commercial so innovators should be technical.

Other tourism sectors involved with…

Hotel: Alex worked as a usability and user experience consultant in the hotel industry (specialised in hotel booking processes) and prior to that was Head of Web for a hotel distribution startup, Andbook, funded by Hilton, Accor and Le Meridien, primarily focussed on business travel hotel bookings.

Flights: Alex led an award-winning (UK BIMA) digital project for now defunct FlyBMI airline working on areas such as flight booking, loyalty schemes, route maps etc.

Expeditions: In 1999 Alex launched a 4 bus overland expedition business running long duration tours such as the 5 week Istanbul to Cairo and the 14 week London to Kathmandu. This was the first UK-based tour business trading digital only (no brochures). He drove London to Kathmandu in 1995 via eastern Europe, Turkey, Syria, Jordan, eastern Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, India and finally Nepal.

Mainstream tours / packages: Alex headed up ecommerce / IT project teams at First Choice (now TUI) for 24 months – delivering company critical projects selling flight/hotel packages, villas etc. He has also managed reservation system change projects for / Travel City Direct / Cadogan Holidays.

Startups: Alex is on the advisory board of Travel Tech Lab (London) – London’s travel startup centre of excellence.

Conference speaking

Alex Bainbridge, DestinationCTO Editor, is available for conference speaking. For example, during 2017 he has undertaken the following engagements:

  • Travel Technology Europe London – “Using the cloud in travel” – Panel
  • ITB Berlin – “Tours, Activities & Restaurants: What next?” – Solo on stage for 30 mins
  • BarcelonaPlus – “This House believes that VCs add value for Travel startups” – Debating against travel industry VC David Soskin. Alex lost….
  • London Travel Tech Lab – startup mentoring session – “Everyday travel startup pitching” (i.e. not to investors)
  • Arival Conference Las Vegas – “Essential Tech Stack For Tours & Activities” – session moderator
  • World Travel Market London – “Impact of self-driving cars on in destination experiences”
  • Digital Tourism Think Tank Global Conference Brussels – “What do innovators want from destinations?”

2018 so far

  • Travel Technology Europe London – Innovation 20:18 – 18 slides, 20 seconds per slide – Impact of autonomous vehicles
  • ITB Berlin – “Is Your Business Ready For Self-Driving Cars?” – Solo on stage for 30 mins
  • BerlinPlus – “The Autonomous Revolution, opportunities in travel personalisation”

Additionally, always happy to help with start-up competition judging and being on a panel for “in destination” topics.

Further information

Alex tweets regularly @alexbainbridge