SAP Concur says it is delighted with the impact its TripLink corporate travel management platform is having after integrating US airline Delta in December.
Darryl McGarvey, director of channel development at US software specialist SAP Concur, said 600,000 Delta consumers have uploaded their profile to TripLink.
The platform allows TMCs to capture bookings made directly on airline websites and manage them like a corporate booking.
McGarvey said: “Over the last two years it has done £2 billion of bookings. It’s such an exciting part of what we do now.
“We are still there to support our travel partners and not encourage open source bookings, but we acknowledge there are people who are determined to book off plan.
“They like going to airline dot com and they are determined to do it, so this gives TMCs and corporates the knowledge and insight.”
TripLink pulls in corporate rates linked to the users’ leisure profile and allows TMC-level of service for what is essentially a leisure booking.
McGarvey said it was an evolution of SAP Concur’s products “that’s truly exciting and developing real benefits”.
The TripLink platform integrates with SAP Concur’s TripIt Pro itinerary management app.
This gives users a suite of optimisation tools including a shopping service that continues to look for cheaper price and rebooks travellers when a better deal has been found.
It also includes a seat optimisation tool which automatically moves the user towards their preferred seat if it is not initially allocated.
And a new sustainability tool is being made available to users in Europe that allows them to manage their individual carbon footprint.
McGarvey said this was functionality its travellers SAP Concur they want and that it will be interesting to see uptake among European corporate travellers.
“A Global Business Travel Association survey before Christmas found 30% of traveller profiles have a sustainability element and yet 79% said they wanted one in the next 18 months,” he said.
“It’s not just about shifting from air to rail, that’s important, but it’s driving real behaviour change and it’s companies empowering the traveller to make choices.
“The question for us as an industry is to what extent is my company willing for me to spend £20 more to stay in a hotel I’m more comfortable with.
“TMCs for years have struggled to demonstrate their value but actually 80% of people say their TMC is a good source of sustainable recommendations and information.
“Young people are in the workforce and making decisions about who to work for based on the tools they are being provided.”
McGarvey added that corporates’ duty of care and travel booking policies and programmes are proving vital amid the current coronavirus outbreak.
TMC platforms that begin with an assessment of the reasons for travel can intervene and determine what is essential and non-essential travel and suggest alternatives if required.
“Corporates are now talking about travel bans and freezes. People do not know what’s going on but as an industry we are on top of it.
“We have the duty of care tools so companies know where their travellers are and where they are going to be for the next few weeks.
“for the next two to three weeks things are going to be a little bit hairy, but I’m sure things will settle down.”
McGarvey said, despite coronavirus, TMCs are confident 2020 will be “buoyant” for the UK market as corporates seek opportunities that were put on pause due to the General Election and Brexit.