Unshackled business travellers to roam free on the web
Letting the business travel community search and book whatever they want online for business trips is not unheard of as Google has been allowing its employees the freedom since 2008.
It’s a trend that Traveldoo founder and boss Nabih El Aroussi thinks will take hold within the next few years especially because as much of 50% of the business travel market remains unmanaged.
Google’s travel policy is to let travellers book any component via any channel with certain spending caps in place as well as the onus on employees to log trip details for security as well as management information.
El Aroussi says that in the future the business travel booking and planning process will be more like 20% human involvement and 80% technology compared to the 80% human touch that he believes it is today.
“We offer a self-booking tool and I’m confident people are finding what they want within the tool but if they don’t and look to book outside the company tool but within policy, we will develop tools to reintegrate all those bookings into the back-end.”
Traveldoo was acquired by Expedia-owned Egencia in December and is to continue as a separate entity focusing on working with TMCs to attract large companies while Egencia will continue to offer its integrated front and back office tool.
According to El Aroussi, Expedia sees a segment of the corporate market which is not addressed by Egencia but there have also been, and will continue to be, cases where the two companies compete head-on.
Now sitting within the Expedia portfolio, Traveldoo is planning international expansion with the opening of a UK office in the second quarter of this year as well as a base in Germany later in 2012.
The company is also looking to integrate content such as hotels from Expedia within its self-booking tool and will release an expense management tool in Q2 of this year.
“When we see how the market is evolving sometimes spot-buying is interesting or sometimes corporates don’t have rates in all the cities where travellers go so we will look to provide content from Expedia and others. Our objective is to leverage the resources, network, global reach and expertise.”
Linda Fox is deputy editor for Tnooz. For the past eight years she has worked as a freelance journalist across a range of B2B titles including Travolution, ABTA Magazine, Travelmole and the Business Travel Magazine.
In this time she has also undertaken corporate projects for a number of high profile travel technology, travel management and research companies.
Prior to her freelance career she covered hotels and technology news for Travel Trade Gazette for seven years. Linda joined TTG from Caterer & Hotelkeeper where she worked on the features desk for more than five years.