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PhoCusWright 2010 Innovator: GroundLink

I spent three action-packed days in Scottsdale recently at the PhoCusWright 2010 conference. While some of the companies that were at the conference have products that are so behind-the-scenes the average traveler may never know about them, some are very much consumer-oriented – so I thought I’d highlight a few of them that might be of particular interest to business travelers.

For most people, the idea of transportation while traveling brings air travel to mind first. But for many business travelers – and for travelers in general – there are many other forms of transportation that come into play whether you’re on the road for work or for fun. At the very least, you’ve got to get from the airport to your hotel, right?

Frequent travelers have grown accustomed to the airfare aggregator sites that allow us to conveniently search for and book tickets from multiple sources without visiting each site individually. GroundLink offers that same kind of convenience, but for ground transportation.

GroundLink covers all kinds of ground transport services – from taxis and limos to private coaches and shuttles – in more than 170 countries around the world. The site allows users to find and book ground transportation without needing to haggle with taxi drivers on the ground or communicate in a foreign language.

It’s quite a network of ground transportation services that GroundLink has built up over what the founder says is seven years of development – the listings include 45,000 providers in those 170+ countries around the world, so you’re not stuck with one high-priced car company in every city. Users search for the point-to-point transfer they need and, based on their starting or ending points, are presented with what the system thinks is their ideal solution. The user can then browse further down the page to investigate other options if desired.

If it initially took seven years to develop the system and get data from all those 45,000 providers, it’s not clear how GroundLink will maintain its database to make sure that travelers won’t arrive and find a given car company has long since gone under. Assuming they find a way to keep the database updated, and they provide a clear incentive for car companies and drivers to sign up, it could be a really handy tool for business and other frequent travelers to use.

>> Read what we thought about the GroundLink presentation at PhoCusWright