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What are the current trends and challenges in corporate travel, and how is TI addressing them?
In our experience, we have seen that most companies have a general understanding of corporate travel and have basic knowledge in working with the complex travel data. In today’s digital world, corporate travel thrives on intelligent mobile applications and robust business intelligence (BI), which many companies lack. It is a unique industry, in that it demands close cooperation with several partners, technology providers, airlines, and so forth. In a typical travel program, the stakeholders require mobile technologies that can integrate with other mobility solutions and APIs for fluid data access and streamlined travel management.
TI is a pathfinder. The leadership at TI believes in leveraging the latest technology developments and creating future trends for the corporate travel industry to follow.
Our in-house Travel Technology Solutions division is a key element of our DNA. We understand the ins and outs of travel data and believe that BI is only as good as the people who build it—so our clients can easily adopt, project, and budget accordingly. To that end, we offer customized solutions that leverage holistic data, starting with the clients’ travel history, to simplify travel management, optimize spend, and enhance the overall experience for travelers. We make it easy for clients to have seamless access to their travel data across all devices, both on web and mobile platforms, using our APIs. TI’s solutions resonate with both the millennial workers and baby boomers because of the improved time management and improved decision-making they achieve.
In addition to cost recovery and savings, data plays an instrumental role in traveler tracking and Duty of Care. We work closely with leading technology partners to incorporate comprehensive information into a proprietary data set, which includes data related to the booking done by the travelers outside of the online booking tool or via our travel consultants.
What differentiates your solutions in the market?
Because of our mobile-first approach, travel managers and travelers can remain in complete control over their program. We provide the means for a personalized experience so that our travelers can use their mobile devices to add meeting locations, synchronize their calendar, and share their itinerary, or individual components of their trip, seamlessly with colleagues, family, and friends.
At the core of TI’s value proposition is the push notifications that keep travelers updated with every piece of information that is relevant to their trip. Notifications about the flight timings, immediate delay notifications, and other information such as alternate flight routes can be shared through email, text, or social media platforms.
Delivering technology that creates an easy traveler experience is fundamental, yet often times missed by technology providers. We designed our TI Mobile app to be identical with the desktop capabilities, going beyond itinerary management to include flight check in, live chat for rebooking requirements, and access to past invoices for easy expense management. Additionally, we provide our clients with Travel Hub which provides direct web links to all facets of travel, including airline sites, company policy, preferred partner details and best practices during an emergency—basically all the crucial information for the unhindered travel experience.
We offer TripInsights, a cloud-based analytics platform dedicated to help both travel and procurement managers as well as their travelers. The web-based graphical platform allows managers to gain deep insights into the performance of the traveler buying behaviors in relation to the internal policies. The managers can share accurate information with travelers in a timely manner and influence their future behavior. Travel managers can also track if the company is achieving the expected value out of their partner network, including service providers and vendors.
Looking under the hood, TI’s analytics platform aggregates data from different agencies and data sources to provide a consolidated global report through its efficient reporting functionality. We have aggregated into our warehouse data from about 32 different external data sources, including American Express, BCD, and many more. We also gather external data from SAP Concurs TripLink which provides holistic travel information even if the traveler has booked trips and hotels indirectly, outside of the company policies, such as Delta.com or Marriott.com. TI offers trip performance metrics, which is a scorecard highlighting the travel behavior and enabling the managers with the right controls to recommend shifts to traveler buying decisions.
You have been associated with SAP Concur for a long time now. Tell us how you utilize your partnership with them to better serve your clients.
We offer customized solutions that leverage holistic data, starting with the clients’ travel history, to simplify travel management, optimize spend, and enhance the overall experience for travelers
We not only manage SAP’s travel needs but also resell SAP Concur products augmented with our specialized tools, empowering the travel and procurement managers with greater capabilities to reduce the risk of non-compliance from the traveler perspective and avoid unnecessary cost incursion. Our leading solutions are appreciated for their ease of use, efficient risk management, and cost benefits.
What makes your client engagement strategy unique in the industry?
We have a wide range of clients from different industries, including healthcare, technology, media, finance, and manufacturing. Generally, our partnership with the clients begins very early—during the pre-sales process. We focus on understanding their needs, challenges, culture, and their idea of a perfect travel program. Comprehending these aspects, we tailor the programs, maintain effective communication, and provide support throughout the travel journey. Our dedicated account managers meet with the clients regularly, bringing proactive opportunities for consideration and implementation. In many instances, our leadership prefers to join client meetings and focus on developing new solutions. The company’s traveler calendaring tool which provides a consolidated view of who is traveling on any given day is one such innovation. As we provide comprehensive data analytics and dedicated account management teams for every project, clients find it easy to achieve their goals and build longer and sustainable travel programs.
Highlight a case study where you helped your client overcome their challenges and achieve goals.
Our collaboration with clients is unique. To elaborate with an example, we have a client that manages a database of physicians and surgery specialists around the world to respond to specific emergency situations. They have their own digital program that identifies which surgeon and supporting team would be required for a procedure and then coordinates their availability. The travel component was not part of their solution and had to be manually booked. We were able to not only provide raw travel data to their IT team and but also integrate that to their existing platform, resulting in a single workflow. This helped them improve the efficiency and response speed during a medical emergency.
What lies ahead for TI?
As a traveler-centric company, we believe in keeping things simple for the traveler. It’s all about improving the service accessibility across various channels, email, phone, or social media.
Focused on the comprehensive automation of travel management, we are building new products based on artificial intelligence (AI) and robotic automation. The next time a user logs in for the next travel, we can provide them with suggestions based on their travel history. With this, we can reduce the delays and encourage our consultants to better focus on delivering concierge services.
Our upcoming AI-based bot technology will have better communication (text and chat) capabilities. Also, we are enhancing duty of care platform with new toolsets based on visualization and mapping to pinpoint the travelers’ location and improve two-way communication with them. Our solution can also send notifications, be it through email, text, or social media. Having technology as the key element of our DNA, we encourage every internal employee and client to offer suggestions to improve both customer service and processes. The technology innovations that we are working on today in collaboration with our partners and clients will enable us to remain a cut above the rest in the market.