business travel
3 years ago
 

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.”

NB: Image via Shutterstock

 
 
Linda Fox

About the Writer :: Linda Fox

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.

 

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  1. Gen Y versus corporate travel policy – stalemate in an online travel world | Reference Information Directory

    […] Traveldoo, now owned by Egencia, says it will develop tools to reintegrate bookings made outside of traditional channels as travel booking becomes more tech less […]

     
  2. Joseph Boschert

    Runzheimer International recently released a commercialized version of this called SmartTrip. See the link below for details:

    http://runzheimer.com/Resources-Events/Travel-Expense-Management-Resources/Product-Sheet/SmartTrip.aspx

     
  3. Jenny

    @Murray, You haven’t met many Exec PAs have you ;-)

     
  4. Murray Harrold

    Oh Dear! Oh Dear! Here we go again. As Dan G says, if 50% remains unmanaged then, yup, they are already roaming the web …

    Google may allow freedom. That statement, however, makes not mention of what sort of travel Google’s people are booking. At a guess, its very simple point to point stuff. Either that, or Google are being incredibly stupid.

    By definition, anything online can only show that which the API (or other information provider) wishes the end user to see. Further, it can only provide the facts – any online source cannot interpret the facts – only a human agent can do this and believe you me, that ability to interpret the facts has saved many clients an awful lot of money. Online invariably fails miserably as soon as one departs from very basic point to point travel. A to B to C can be cut and carved in several different ways and indeed, may be improved by the addition of D… all these “wrinkles” are the premise of the agent only. The cost of using an agent is many times covered by the savings *when* that agent adds value to a booking. (For example, if I see that a client needs a low cost carrier for a specific itinerary, I arrange with the PA to book it online herself… I cannot add value and so, justify my fee).

    There are few firms stupid enough to simply say “Here, take the company credit card and book your own stuff, as you like” (Google probably have to … because they are supposed to be the ultimate in online and therefore, are really bound to have to do so). Companies pay their executives to negotiate and land multi-million dollar deals. They do not pay them trying to work out the best way to organise a 5 sector itinerary with car hire and hotels…. nor do they pay the Exec’s PA to do it.

    The “50% remains unmanaged…” statement, though, is a totally meaningless and a totally banal statement. What do you mean by “business travel”? What sort of firms are unmanaged? What size? What sort of travel do they undertake? How much travel? Sure, there are probably a lot of one horse businesses that have one guy that goes once a fortnight from New York to Washington – and surprise, surprise … he does it himself. There are few (if any) comapnies or any size, however who do not use agents – and mainstream business agents, such a AMEX etc have sophisticated booking, self booking and reporting tools and have had them for a very long time. Indeed, many medium size agents (such as the one I work for) have similar extensive systems… and being a proper business travel agent – means a lot more than simply making a booking – right now writing this, I have just had to untangle a business client who found himself stranded.

    Traveldoo are either incredibly naive… or have little understanding of how business travel operates or both. Very, very silly.

     
  5. Dan G.

    “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.”

    If 50% of business travel “remains unmanaged” then they are already roaming free on the web.

     
 
 

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