History of PaxFlow
PaxFlow is a software that started in 2016 inside an Icelandic tour operator, BusTravel Iceland.
At the end of 2016, Iceland went through a tourism boom and the BusTravel Iceland team discovered that the only way to scale up a tour operator quickly and efficiently was through the use of technology. Within less than two years, BusTravel Iceland went from using pen and paper and spreadsheets for booking management to using a booking system, a customer support email system, a shif management system, an internal communication system, a customer support chat system, an internal knowledge database system and a fleet tracking system.
BusTravel Iceland looked for software that could connect those systems efficiently, but there was none available.
When it happened regularly that at the end of a working day at 22:00 there were still 100-250 emails left unprocessed, one employee started to quickly automate some workflows himself - the beginning of what is today PaxFlow. The first tool was a connection between the booking system and the email system, enabling filling in booking details automatically into email templates and send them out to customers with one click. This module is still, 3 years later the core of the customer support mailing functions.
This first version of PaxFlow was then called
BusTravel office tools and soon, no one could imagine working without them.
The next function added was a dashboard to show available seats over the next days throughout all departures on a TV screen. This dashboard is still today a pre-configured dashboard for each new PaxFlow installation. After that came a mass-mailing feature to quickly send personalized individual emails to each passenger on one departure. A method for automating the printing of papers for drivers & guides before they leave on a tour was up next.
In spring 2017, the first person was hired specifically as a team member for this project.
With there now being one full-time person who spend about half their time developing this software and another part-time developer specifically for this project, development speed could finally increased and the first stable technical fundament for today's PaxFlow was built: A booking + shift data cache was built that in nearly real-time synced with the booking system that it's connected to and allows functions using way more booking data than before without waiting for API response times. New features could be built upon that, such asthe passenger list or the pickup check.
With this robust technical foundation and new features, the system needed a new name:
CBS - Core & Booking System
The winter season 2017/2018 for BusTravel Iceland was predicted to be bigger than any season before in the company's history, so the technical support for all staff members should be stronger than ever before. For that reason, a number of features had to be implemented quickly: Automation for the Northern Light automation including the customer portal for passengers to reschedule themselves if the weather was too bad for Northern Light tours, a first fleet manager and integration of the fleet tracking system, package booking automation and finally the tablet interfaces.
The introduction of the en route user interface running on tablets, designed for drivers and guides, was the feature with the biggest positive impact on operational efficiency.
Allowing drivers and guides to have real-time passenger data available wherever they are and allowing the office to see where the buses are and seeing in real-time which passenger has arrived and who is a no show, changed all workflows and processes for all staff members. With the software being used by dozens of employees, the need came up to establish a support & training infrastructure that's until today the base of PaxFlow's Customer Support. With the whole company being affected by the software created, it was clear, that also the whole company tried to help speed up the development: many people volunteered to test new features, try new small iterations every day and gave immediate feedback, everyone helped each other and e.g. the customer portal was translated to different languages where native speakers were available inside the company.
The next step for CBS came in spring 2018, when a shift-manager moved to a different company and wanted to use CBS there as well.
The CBS team presented the software to the team of the whale-watching company and they were instantly convinced to use it with their systems. After reaching out to a few other companies, in fall 2018 CBS got it's first customer outside of Iceland.
In the beginning of 2019, the decision was made to spin CBS out of BusTravel Iceland into it's own startup,
January - March 2019 the BusTravel IT team joined the Startup Tourism accelerator in Reykjavík and after completing that and learning a lot about how to bootstrap a startup, we went to the TINC accelerator run by Innovation Norway in Palo Alto, CA. While still being in Silicon Valley, BusTravel IT started negotiations with potential investors and finally joined the Origo Travel solutions team in August 2019.
The newest chapter started soon after, when the software was rebranded to be
PaxFlow. That's where we are now and you are now part of the story of this incredible project!