CarTrawler extends competitive lead, empowers business users, and improves analyst retention with ThoughtSpot


CarTrawler’s end-to-end technology platform expands to airline and travel partners’ offering to their customers, creating substantial ancillary revenue opportunities. They provide unrivaled breadth and depth of content worldwide, including car rental, private airport transfer and ride-hailing services.


High Tech

Use Cases

Customer 360

Modern data stack

Against the backdrop of an increasingly complex and changing travel environment, Dublin-based CarTrawler offers data-based technology solutions that are designed to give travelers, agents, and car hire and mobility partners the best deals possible. Airlines, car rental agents and travel partners like Hertz, United Airlines, EasyJet and American Express rely on CarTrawler’s ‘Human TravelTech’ solutions to drive profitable loyalty and repeat business relationships. CarTrawler’s global online marketplace connects partners, customers and suppliers, and always offers travelers the best available, fully tailored car rental in an integrated ‘one-stop-shopping’ experience.

Above all, vital information to complete a transaction needs to be readily available, without any interference or any delay. The team that deals directly with suppliers, for example, needs to know how many bookings just got made, say, with Alamo in Orlando. That’s why in the Data Insights team, our success metric is that colleagues always get the best data they need to make the best decisions - and fast.
Patrick CallinanDirector of Insights and Data ScienceCarTrawler


The CarTrawler Data Insights team can essentially be interchangeable for all things data. As part of this, its data scientists continually perfect its proprietary sorting and pricing algorithms, as well as modeling, fraud detection, performance analysis, understanding customer behaviors, and how users are interacting with its products. CarTrawler’s key performance metrics include conversion rates, customer satisfaction, and cancellation rates. Optimizing these depends on communicating the right information at the right time in the booking flow process - from the moment a customer makes a booking, to when they return their car.

As Patrick Callinan, Director of Insights and Data Science, confirms, CarTrawler is a deep tech firm and needs innovative, cloud-based tech that can work with the machine learning and analysis software it relies on, like Amazon SageMaker and Snowflake . Equally, a key priority was to find a tool that could help business analysts query data easily without having to learn and write SQL analytics functions . The team says it found the ideal for both requirements in ThoughtSpot Cloud.

CarTrawler had historically relied on a home-brewed business intelligence tool . This had been state-of-the-art in its prime but had become less suitable with time. The learning curve for new users had started to become unacceptable.

That meant business analyst time getting burned working on supporting colleagues with essentially mundane operational queries. This has completely changed with the arrival of ThoughtSpot Cloud. “There was a very heavy dependency on the analyst, but they don't want to work on a lot of small, ad hoc questions. They’re here to solve the bigger, more strategic questions,” explained Callinan.


A new way of working was needed, but CarTrawler was hesitant to bring in new tools that would lead to more training. The team tried to see whether it could improve its incumbent BI tool, but soon hit a wall: the code had become so complex over the years, they couldn't add to it any further.

After these initial efforts, CarTrawler decided to adopt ThoughtSpot Cloud - which fit in perfectly with its award-winning cloud technology stack that includes Snowflake for data warehousing and Snowplow for behavioral web analytics. Using ThoughtSpot, the business users who don't have time to become SQL experts are now free to query the most popular data sets, with analysts freed up to work on the big questions. The information users analyze most often in ThoughtSpot Cloud is all about customers’ car reservations: including all the airline details, car rental suppliers, and car sizes.

People are more able to look at patterns, rather than just repeating the same analysis, but just for a different country or supplier. Both business users and business analysts benefit--as does the wider business, and most importantly, our customers and partners.
Patrick CallinanDirector of Insights and Data ScienceCarTrawler

A clue to how successful ThoughtSpot would prove to be was that after the original proof of concept, all 10 users in the test answered with a unanimous ‘Yes!’ when asked if this was the software they wanted. “There was not much point in us looking at what other options were available when the feedback was that clear!” Callinan commented.

What's next

Today, CarTrawler offers users 20 of what the Data Insights team have identified as highly curated, well-documented data sources through ThoughtSpot Liveboards: a number of other key business reports remain provisioned through Tableau.

“We were already better than our competitors in giving our partners and suppliers access to performance data,” says Callinan. “But what we can do now is do that for them in real-time on the phone, which we weren't able to do before; people can be on the phone with an airline, and as the contact asks another question, the information is immediately supplied to them.

“That will make that relationship so much better, because now time can be spent on what we can do for the market with this information, rather than waiting for the data to come through.”

Next, CarTrawler will move one step up the funnel and enable business users to interrogate user searches through ThoughtSpot in addition to reservations. It will also start bringing in customer behavioral data to improve its unique service even further to the sector.

When we did the first training session with the supply team, they understood how to write the queries at the end of 60 minutes. For me, that was really the confirmation we’d made the right choice; when you show a new BI tool to people not used to it who can figure it out that quickly—you know you have a winner.
Patrick CallinanDirector of Insights and Data ScienceCarTrawler