The Priceline Hotel Negotiator, Kayak and Travelocity mobile apps may be among the top 10 free travel apps in Apple's Apps Store, but they all lack one feature that's available in Concur's mobile app -- the ability to book Southwest Airlines.
Concur, the corporate-travel booking and expense-management firm, recently integrated Southwest content into its corporate self-booking tool and mobile app -- available for iPhone, Blackberry and Windows phones -- for Concur's business-travel clients.
Concur says it is "the only travel provider today with direct access to Southwest content."
[However, travel agencies and corporations hooked up to Travelport GDS have access to Southwest flights. And, Sabre has access to Southwest schedules, but the access is more limited than Travelport's. And, none of the online travel agencies can facilitate Southwest bookings as Southwest continues to push its airline-direct Web strategy.]
With the Southwest content agreement, announced last summer but implemented in the last week or so, Concur clients get:
- A display with live availability from Southwest and last-seat inventory;
- Deferred ticketing, cancellations and exchanges.
Through Concur's recently upraded mobile app, Concur clients now have access to support for Southwest direct-connect flights booked through Concur Mobile.
Among the features of the mobile app:
- Southwest flights are displayed in a trip list; and
- Business travelers can add hotels, ground transportation and dining reservations to their Southwest itineraries.
Concur also added Concur Invoice
to the mobile app, enabling business travelers to view line items, supplier information and images, Concur says.
Managers also can sign off on employees' payment requests or send them back to the traveler for clarification, all from the travelers' mobile phone, Concur adds.
Update: A little more background...
Concur's Cliqbook corporate self-booking tool long had access to Southwest through BookingBuilder, a search engine for travel agents which was the first third-party tool to get authorization to connect to Southwest.
Through BookingBuilder, Concur had integrated Southwest's business-travel offering, SWABIZ.
But, now Concur and Southwest have implemented a direct-connect for Cliqbook and the Concur Mobile app. That means Concur clients can access all Southwest content -- not just SWABIZ -- and can compare Southwest fares with other airlines' fares in the same display window and they can apply corporate-travel policy, Concur says.
Clients also can book open-jaw itineraries -- flying to one destination and departing from another, for instance -- and can hold the fare for up to 24 hours, Concur says.