As the Global Business Travel Association's annual event winds down, here's a quick rundown of the announcements that emerged from the show.
Egencia, the business travel servicing arm of Expedia, has announced new technology called the Intelligent Service Platform.
The technology will use interactive voice response (IVR) to match a caller's phone number with their Egencia profile to deliver faster service. A prompt will ask the caller to identify which trip the call is in reference to, and will allow Egencia Travel Consultants to have immediate access to the trip itinerary in question. Travelers can also request a call back rather than waiting on hold.
The company has also announced the roll-out Hotel Value Score™ program in North America. The program matches travelers to "best value" hotels, as determined by each individual traveler's travel program.
Chris Vukelich, Egencia’s vice president of supplier relations in the Americas:
“Companies that have negotiated rates with hotels naturally want these properties at the top of list so travelers will select them first. However, this traditional approach has two big limitations. First, savings are missed due to dynamic market conditions; better rates are often available at other hotels that are not being featured in the online tool to travelers. Two, it promotes leakage; if the traveler can’t find what he or she wants, the corporate travel booking tool is not used and the traveler books elsewhere. This creates challenges for accurate reporting and duty of care.”
An initial pilot saw savings of 2.5 to 12 percent.
Comprehensive, cross-supplier data sharing is the focus of the new
SureWare Travel Hub™ with Res Sync™, a secure cloud-based workflow-enabled solution that helps companies easily migrate and synchronize travel program information to the new GDS desktop reservation systems that include Amadeus One Desktop suite, Travelport Universal Desktop™, and Sabre® Red™ total travel solution.
Synching and moving data across different GDS platform is the primary reason for this technology, allowing travel managers to take advantage of the best pricing and inventory for their specific travel program needs.
T&E management company ExpenseAnywhere announced their Advanced eReceipts Technology (ART), targeted at small-to-medium sized enterprises.
The new ART module utilizes the proprietary, and the first of its kind, advanced OCR based rules that automatically validates expense receipts, whether received directly from the suppliers or uploaded by the users, with the expense line items entered to an expense report and highlights any out-of-policy expenses on an expense receipt.
TripCase, American Express and TruTrip
Sabre had several announcements during the convention. Tnooz covered the impending first quarter 2013 launch of TripCase Corporate, which was further expanded upon at GBTA. TripCase will integrate with American Express Global Business Travel so that clients will have mobile trip management by directly feeding trip details from American Express into the traveler’s TripCase account. It also allows Amex business travel customers the ability to be updated regarding any changes right into TripCase, in addition to related cardholder travel benefits such as lounge access:
- Automatic upload of trip details and automatic updates into one itinerary within minutes of booking a trip online or on the phone, as well as the ability to add trip elements via email
- Flight updates, including gate changes, delays and cancellations based on real-time information
- Click-to-call access to the traveler’s specific American Express travel service number
- Map and directions during the trip, based on location and itinerary
- Access to critical information such as addresses and telephone numbers for the flight, hotel, car rental and other items included in the itinerary
- Ability to share critical itinerary information with friends and family directly from the app or website
After announcing TruTrip
a week ago, Sabre showcased the new feature for the first time. TruTrip allows travel managers and travelers to take out-of-program bookings - whether for a leisure component of an itinerary or something booked elsewhere - and bring it into the managed travel workflow.
This integration means that managers are able to gain a cohesive picture of their travelers, even for segments that were booked out of the corporate booking environment. This allows for increased security and traveler awareness, in addition to offering data insights into how, why, where and when travelers choose to book outside of the managed program.
American Express and Carlson Wagonlit
Both companies have announced a game layer for their corporate travel customers. Tnooz will be exploring this in depth soon, in the meantime, read the Amex announcement here and CWT's here.
Concur-owned TRK announced the latest iteration of their TRAVEL TRAX product, which
now provides clients with the processing power that they need to handle reports with over a million unique records. The new design supports more concurrent users, a higher rate of data throughput, and improved error handling, making this version of the TRAVELTRAX reporting engine more powerful than ever before.
Strategic meetings management technology provider SignUp4 has inked four partnerships:
- Travelport has become an exclusive partner in Latin America to expand the event management technology presence in that region.
- SpendMD has integrated SignUp4's Spend Management System (SMS), facilitating compliance with new regulations requiring event professionals to collect meeting spend data in regards to various medical suppliers dealing with Medicare/Medicaid.
- SignUp4's Event and Travel Management Systems app is now available in the Sabre Red Workspace environment.
- The company has a certified integration with Newmarket International's MeetingBroker platform to streamline the RFP submission process.
TravelTracker 6 is the latest update from global risk management firm International SOS. In order to seamlessly understand and manage risk across a travel program, the service allows companies to easily see the location of all employees and communicate with them quickly.
From the announcement:
The upgrade includes enhanced and interactive visualisation, with improved search and navigation features. The system has been tested by around 100 clients over the past year and is integrated with the International SOS Assistance App for mobile devices. A "check-in" button will be offered which will allow travellers to notify their office that they have arrived safely.
Other key features:
New and detailed traveler "profiles" overlayed graphically on a map provide more certainty and peace of mind in knowing who is where and if they need assistance.Interactive maps display the location of a medical or travel security event, helping businesses quickly track where travelers and employees are at all times.Fast and in-depth searches using personal, geographical, and trip data.Instant notifications between employers and those on the ground - 24/7 - allowing companies and employees to benefit from more informed decisions.
Christopherson Business Travel
The company has announced AirPortal 360, a mobile app that allows travel managers to manage their travel program on the go.
Christopherson Business Travel, the leading business travel management company in the western United States, is set to launch AirPortal 360™ Mobile, the first comprehensive mobile app that provides corporate travel managers the ability to manage their company's travel program from the palm of their hand—wherever, whenever.
CEO Mike Cameron:
"We have noticed that while mobile technology innovation has progressed rapidly for travelers, there has not been much innovation when it comes to mobile technology for travel managers. The mobile apps that do exist only provide a third-party software developer's niche service and until now, there have been no comprehensive mobile apps to help travel managers oversee their entire travel program. AirPortal 360 Mobile is the solution to that void."
NB: Photo courtesy GBTA