CBS News "A Moment With..." features David Gunnarsson, CEO Dohop, to talk technology and innovation as a guiding force in travel
1 February 2024
- Technology is increasingly powering travel, ushering in more innovation in aviation, and changing the game with new connections
- As demand for sustainable travel continues to grow, new opportunities are expected for air-to-ground connections
Today, more than ever, it’s vital that technology empowers travel retailers and suppliers to grow and optimise their networks, tap into new pools of customer demand, and realise new retailing opportunities with more travel options.
To harness just this, Dohop facilitates partnerships across airlines and ground transportation providers, including rail companies, so that new destinations, travel combinations, and services are available to travellers. Dohop’s technology helps airlines provide more travel and service choices to passengers. As an early disruptor, it has brought a lot of agility with its airline partnerships, helping them sell and service more connected journeys.
Dohop’s technology allows airlines to expand their network and make worldwide destinations available without committing to often cumbersome interline agreements that may or may not be profitable. Partner airlines can make simpler connections via Dohop’s technology and have protection from delays or cancellations, which may result in missed connecting flights.
"Travel is a complex business. There’s always information asymmetry, so when passengers book a trip, they don’t always have all the information they need at their fingertips. That’s where Dohop comes in."
Dohop makes connections that will surprise air travellers
Some of the opportunities Dohop can create can surprise, too. For example, does easyJet serve New York? No. However, via a Dohop-facilitated connection with low-fare, long-haul airline Norse Atlantic Airways, also operating at London’s Gatwick Airport, such an itinerary is available to book.
Testament to Dohop’s success today is a global network of over 75 airline partners and a growing team in several international locations, complementing its HQ in Reykjavik.
In this CBS News interview, David also shares his management style, the importance of adapting to airline cultures globally, and how he’s excited to expand the business through widened itineraries – beyond air to rail, boats and ferries, even buses - as passengers look for more comprehensive and inclusive offers that better cover their travel needs.
He talks about the importance of understanding airline cultures and how Dohop adapts its sales approach accordingly.
"Every airline is individual, which makes our work very interesting," he says. "Whether they are seven or 70 years old, they can be very different creatures, so we have to learn and adapt in every case. As a CEO in a fast-moving business, it’s important to constantly evaluate how I can provide the most value at any given time.”
He describes his leadership style as fairly hands-off. “I step back and try to empower people, give them the opportunity to make their own decisions. Sometimes, it takes more time, but the ultimate benefit is significantly more. It’s a fine line, but giving people the freedom to operate means we hire people who want to come to work, share our values, culture, and the business itself, so you end up with something magical."
The buoyant tech start-up scene in Iceland has highly educated people and a supportive government. David counts himself lucky to be supported by an experienced Chair, John Nicholson (formerly chair of Skyscanner and numerous other businesses).
Are there plans to broaden the Dohop service offering?
"I expect we will be a different business in five years time. We started our journey by connecting only two flights, air-to-air, then we added air-to-rail, and now we’re exploring connecting airlines with other modes of transport, which will become significant. We see increasing demand worldwide for more sustainable travel as we all seek to reduce our carbon footprint. That said, we are not interested in the last mile - our focus will remain firmly on the scheduled transport portion of the journey."
Dohop is a European market leader for alternative interline solutions, based in Reykjavik, Iceland. Through facilitating simple and profitable air-to-air and air-to-ground interline partnerships, Dohop empowers airlines and their intermodal partners to unlock unlimited connections and tap into new demand through new partnership opportunities.
Founded in 2004, Dohop’s team of 100 passionate travel technology experts has enabled new opportunities for connecting journeys for the company’s ever-growing network of 75 airlines and travel providers, including easyJet, Transavia, Air France, Vueling, and Air Transat.
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