Following on the heels of yesterday's announcement of a direct linkup with Airbnb, travel expense management company Concur has now also brought on-demand car service Uber into the platform.
The latest linkup means that, once the traveler has connected accounts, any expenses created on Uber will flow automatically into the traveler's expense account. The user simply has to connect to a Concur account within the Uber app to allow expenses to drop directly into the chosen account.
The expansion into Uber and Airbnb highlights how the business travel landscape is expanding to include the darlings of the P2P/on-demand economy that have proven immensely popular with business travelers.
The reality of this shift is driven by the huge spike in usage by business travelers. Concur reports a 27x increase in Airbnb usage via reported expenses, demonstrating that this shift towards more diverse accommodations is likely here to stay. Airbnb stays will be integrated into Concur's TripLink product later this year, so Duty of Care obligations can be fulfilled by travel managers.
On the Uber front, Concur reports a 500% increase in expenses reported from the on-demand car platform. This demand surge explains why Uber has purchased a large chunk of show floor this year, pushing directly into competition for some of the most prized dollars in the travel market.
The new Concur/Uber integration will allow business travelers to request, ride, pay and expense each ride to the company without any additional work.
This access offers more control and insight into ground transportation spend for travel managers and CFOs, while also creating a more accessible road map for tracking movements on the Duty of Care front.
From Tim MacDonald, EVP at Concur:
This new generation of platform partners reflects the transformation taking place for today’s business customer. By partnering with these innovative companies, we are building a connected platform that radically improves the experience for the business traveler.
With Airbnb and Uber, we are enabling, in business travel, what consumers already enjoy about collaborative consumption in their leisure. Capturing this spend then gives companies greater real-time transparency into traveler expenditure and itineraries.
Tnooz also spoke with Concur CEO Steve Singh about the meaning of the Uber partnership.
The value is how you connect the Uber car to the airline ticket. So when my flight lands, why am I not asked immediately if I'd like an Uber car to pick me up curbside. Being able to work with an Uber shows you where the industry is headed.
There's this idea of Duty of Care that is very important. Every time you think the world is getting better and safer, something worse happens. It's getting dangerous. Being able to know where your travelers are, where your loved ones are - that's critically important.
Things like Airbnb, IHG, Starwood - what's great about these partnerships is not just that travelers enjoy their corporate rate, but now we know where you are. Before this, 50% of hotels booked were outside of policy - you had no idea where they booked. So now that you know, providing Duty of Care becomes a lot easier. This isn't a big deal until you need to know where someone is in an emergency - and then it becomes incredibly valuable.
In addition, American Express is coming into the partnership to auto-enroll employees holding Amex Corporate Cards into the Uber receipt capture program in the fall.
For its part, Uber's new business product will allow companies to create and share accounts for multiple users. American Express card holders will also earn double Membership Rewards points starting in the fall. Businesses can sign up for the new Uber for Business product here.
Beyond these recent integrations, Concur also announced the rollout of a loyalty points program for the TripLink product to drive increased travel policy compliance. TripLink brings together out-of-program bookings, and so the new features include "price-to-beat" which provides configurable price targets that help travelers manage their own spend by learning what is a fair price to pay. Companies can then set targets and empower employees to run their own bookings.
Travel Points follows this thinking by enabling organizations to award points to those selecting the most cost-effective options according to the beat the "price-to-beat" target. These points can then be used to redeem for travel outside of the business.