Getting Down to Business: The Pocket Travel Concierge


Illustration: Lalalimola

Road warriors today are more self-sufficient and resourceful than ever: They book their own travel, do their own expenses and make room for extracurricular activities around work trips. In the multipart series,Getting Down to Business,” we look at the shiny tools inside the modern business traveler’s kit. This segment examines a digital platform that promises to be your very own pocket concierge throughout your travels.

If time is money, then TripActions could save companies 90 percent of what they’re spending in labor to book flights and accommodations for business trips. It estimates the average time it takes an employee to find the right flight for the right fare and book a hotel room is 60 minutes – and claims its travel management platform can help the employee do the same in six. TripActions’ algorithms roll flight and hotel-room availability with corporate travel policies so employees don’t have to do the guesswork as to whether the premium economy seat they’re about to purchase is something that will be covered on the company dime.

TripActions wants to own business-trip-planning end to end, including the part that involves claiming expenses. But instead of designing its own ecosystem, it chose to partner with airfare distributor ATPCO and source flight information from Sabre and hotel rates from Bookings Holdings. It has even won over American, Delta and Southwest airlines, some of which had previously restricted their  flight information from appearing on third-party platforms, by working to ensure their range of products and services are properly displayed for users to compare. (Just consider the confusion around basic or premium economy offerings across different airlines.)

At the end of the day, TripActions provides companies with a better top-line view of their travel spend while also enabling employees to have the most pleasant journey possible by bringing a sense of humanity and humor – it brought bacon to users who joked they craved it – to business travel.

Like most conveniences these days, those offered by TripActions are packaged inside a smartphone app, but they’ve also added access to customer service support around the clock, so if you’re stranded in Tallinn without your luggage, someone can work on getting your bag on track while you shop for a new toothbrush and suit.

While TripActions aims to remove some of the inefficiencies in business travel planning with technology, the company believes it’s still worthwhile to have humans on hand to respond to the more complex questions and logistical issues that tend to arise while one is traveling abroad. In fact, it is partnering with coworking company WeWork to set up local teams at their offices around the world.

“Getting Down to Business” was originally published in the 9.3 June/July issue of APEX Experience magazine.