Since Concur entered the corporate booking market a decade ago by acquiring travel and expense tech provider Outtask, it has firmly established itself not only as the dominant expense system in the United States, but also the most-used corporate booking tool.
Concur holds a 65 percent U.S. market share for corporate booking, according to a survey of 155 corporate travel buyers with at least $500,000 in U.S.-booked air volume conducted by sister publication The Beat in August 2017.
Primary U.S. corporate online booking systems
SOURCE: The Beat survey of 155 corporate travel buyers with at least $500,000 in U.S.-booked air volume, conducted in August 2017
It is one of several measures of its dominance. A Phocuswright survey of 159 corporate travel managers released summer 2016 showed a similar penetration, with 69 percent of respondents using Concur Travel. That is up from 2012, when a similar Phocuswright survey of 170 corporate travel manager respondents showed Concur’s share at 44 percent.
Concur gained its enviable booking position by promoting the value—perceived or real—of linking booking to expense reporting. For some organizations, Concur shifted the booking tool buying decision from, say, the travel department to finance by hooking the sale on expense.
Since acquiring Outtask, it also deepened and expanded TMC reseller relationships. Further, compared with rivals, Concur operates a sales force of unrivaled size, which only was bolstered after SAP acquired the company in 2014.
Additionally, while not exactly “free,” Concur’s pricing model led with expense, billing users based on the number of expense reports submitted, not travel transactions processed. Concur’s expense clients generally do pay a premium to use booking. Even so, Concur created a pricing advantage for users of both.
Recent developments see Concur’s booking rivals redoubling efforts to challenge the clear market leader. NuTravel this year sold its booking tool assets to Certify—a provider of expense software that this summer merged with three other expense players and has cash backing from private equity.
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American Express Global Business Travel’s 2016 acquisition of KDS puts the muscle of a mega behind a booking player that had struggled to break into the United States. Deem, formerly Rearden Commerce, narrowed its focus to T&E last year—with an emphasis on T—following new investment and a refreshed management team, after years of product pivots and blurry focus.
Amadeus and Sabre each have made efforts this year and last to upgrade their booking systems and sales efforts via their Cytric and GetThere offerings, respectively.
Not to be overlooked, Expedia in 2015 purchased Orbitz and merged Orbitz for Business into Egencia. Egencia is a TMC that provides clients its own desktop and mobile booking technology. Egencia is the second-most used booking system among respondents and has ambitious growth plans, as it adds sales staff and aims to double worldwide sales volume in the next four years.