Incentivizing Smarter Travel Spend — the TravelBank Way
Travel Disruption Summit Guest Blog
Editorial Note: TravelBank has been selected as the moderator guiding the “Corporate Travel Roundtable” at the Travel Disruption Summit, a one-day symposium bringing together thought leaders in the travel industry to New York City on May 23rd. During the event, participants will discuss the opportunities for innovation at each phase of a traveler’s experience, including when they are traveling for business purposes.
Business travel expenses are unpredictable and sometimes excessive. Many SMBs are still running their own unmanaged travel programs, and first generation products don’t exactly fit their needs. This sector of the travel industry is ripe for disruption, and ready for a smarter solution. Moving forward, advances in AI and machine learning, as well as changes in traveler behavior, will continue to reshape the business travel industry.
Managing travel can feel like a full time job, so having a concierge with relationships at all the major airlines is a huge relief when our business travelers are in a pinch. Live chat makes that level of customer service scalable. More than half of TravelBank users reach out to our travel concierge, a group of dedicated travel agents, instead of making changes to their itinerary on their own.
And while human customer service is a key factor, machine learning is helping personalize service better than ever. TravelBank learns users’ preferences over time and brings the best flights for each user to the top of their search results. E-commerce companies have been helping consumers make shopping decisions for years now, and now more travel companies will start doing the same.
When it comes to influencing purchase behavior, offering incentives is nothing new. Typical points programs reward you for how much you spend. TravelBank is turning that model on its head to help companies save money, and rewarding people instead for choosing the most cost-effective booking options. To help our SMB clients find cost-effective options, TravelBank has negotiated corporate rates that are typically hard to unlock.
And the benefits don’t stop at the savings. Developing a travel program that is centered on incentivizing smarter spend, as opposed to a rigid set of policies, allows companies to do more with their travel budgets. Companies can now book more flights with the same budget, offer more flexible travel options to their employees, and ultimately see more productivity coming out of business trips.
It’s also becoming extremely important to offer a consumer experience in enterprise products. Businesses are placing value in systems that are intuitive and offer a simple onboarding experience that takes minutes, not months. Tracking expenses is typically a huge pain point for business travelers, and most solutions are not consumer-friendly. We find that users enjoy the convenience of taking photos of receipts on-the-go and letting TravelBank scan them instantly. To increase productivity and ease of use, TravelBank leverages advanced machine learning to complete expense reports faster. As more travelers trust their mobile phones for banking and expenses, the future of creating expense reports looks more like using Snapchat than a spreadsheet.
As combining personal travel with business travel becomes the norm, companies are embracing the trend and even creating policies around it. TravelBank helps employees take advantage of this personal and business travel blend responsibly with flexible budgets and rewards. With flexible budgets, we give the traveler the power to customize their experience and decide when to splurge versus when to save depending on their individual needs, while spending responsibly. We are able to create a win-win situation for both the traveler, who wants a comfortable trip, and the company admin, who want to know their money is being spent wisely. And when the traveler comes under their trip budget, they have the opportunity to earn rewards which can be redeemed with services they already use and love for personal travel.
TravelBank is a modern travel, expense, and rewards app built for small and medium-sized businesses and their employees. TravelBank uses an intelligent algorithm to predict travel costs based on real-time pricing, has a camera-first experience for tracking expenses on-the-go, and features a rewards program that incentivizes employees to save money on corporate travel when they book more cost-effective options via our platform.