The travel management company Business Travel Direct has signed up to become the first European partner to use best rate shopping service Tripbam.
The Dallas-based travel technology start-up, which was established in 2013, exploits hotel price fluctuations to find savings for users once an initial booking has been made.
The technology continues to search for rates either at the chosen hotel, or within an agreed cluster of hotels in the vicinity, and will flag up reduced rates.
These can then be booked and the original reservation cancelled, in the USA Tripbam claims savings averaging £35 per night on more than 80% of bookings.
Uxbridge, London and Oxford-based Business Travel Direct, said that in tests it saw slightly better results with savings in hotel clusters much higher.
Ian Ferguson, technology consultant at Business Travel Direct, said Tripbam came along just as it was looking to evolve its client offering: “We were incredibly pleased with the results. We have found exactly the product we needed.
“What we did not need was to spend a small fortune trying to develop a more intelligent hotel booking and aggregation service.
“What we needed was for someone just to fix the problem which was breadth and depth of content and getting the right price point.”
Ferguson said the service will help the TMC fight back against perceptions that corporates can find the best rates themselves using retailers on the web, or ‘open booking’.
He also expects that Tripbam will help it capture more bookings within compliant travel policies because bookings made outside of the corporate policy can be compared by Tripbam.
Any reduced rates then found by the system can be booked by the agent for their client.
“Not being afraid to work with corporates that want to have more of an open booking methodology, this gives us the ability when faced with someone that would ordinarily say ‘I find the best rates as an empowered traveller’ to put that theory to the test,” said ?.
Tripbam believes its service has greater potential in Europe, due to the more complex and fragmented nature of the market.
Steve Reynolds, chief executive and founder of Tripbam, said: “Corporations are trying to find the best way to spend money on hotels and we provide a system that not only provides cost savings but also helps with compliance by shifting bookings to compliant providers.”
Tripbam enables bookers to take advantage of rate fluctuations in the market which “occur more often than anyone will admit”, said Reynolds, and apply various factors which as room type or rate flexibility.
“We are providing a lot of transparency into the value of negotiated rates and the value of taking notice of rate fluctuations,” said Reynolds. “If the hotels do not like what we are doing they shouldn’t play with their rates every single day and make sure their corporates have the best rates negotiated.”
Tripbam has been shown to be able to find cheaper rates in 10%-15% of instances in a named hotel and in a cluster that success rate rises to 40%-60%.
The firm is currently working with two of the four “mega” business travel agencies in the US and is live with either pilots or full deployment with more than half of the smaller regional agencies.
Reynolds said it had been looking for the right Europe and UK launch partner and BTD fitted the bill.
“We see even more opportunity for savings in Europe than in the US. There is a lot more rate fluctuation, the market is more fractured and rates are generally higher,” he said.
BTD does not have exclusivity on the Tripbam product, but is expected to have exclusive use for two to three months as new partners are signed up and brought on stream.