How to be a corporate travel technology leader

Egencia-as-global-technology-leader-in-business-travel

By Natasha Samuel, senior product marketing manager

According to Greek mythology, the goddess Athena emerged fully grown from the forehead of her father Zeus. Athena had no childhood and appeared on Mount Olympus as an adult. Thus, Athena has become the original success myth. Success seems pre-ordained or instantaneous. This is seldom the case. Success is earned, often through sustained effort.

What does it take to be a technology leader in a competitive industry like business travel? As my fellow South African Elon Musk put it, “If you’re entering anything where there’s an existing marketplace against large, entrenched competitors, then your product or service needs to be much better than theirs. It can’t be a little bit better, because then you put yourself in the shoes of the consumer… You’re always going to buy the trusted brand unless there’s a big difference.”

This way of thinking has informed our vision and day-to-day work. We’re not like Athena. Egencia didn’t emerge fully grown from the forehead of our parent company, Expedia Group. Looking at our results, you might miss the effort that’s going on behind the scenes.

How often we update our technology

It might come as a surprise to you that we update our business travel platform over 150 times a month.

For instance, two weeks ago we announced Egencia Hotel Conversations. A corporate travel industry first, Hotel Conversations enables direct two-way conversations between business travelers and hoteliers. The same update also included Egencia air and hotel packages. This feature, which is exclusive to Egencia, enhances savings for companies when air and hotel are booked for the same trip.

In the last year, we also developed and released:
Egencia Analytics Studio, the only data visualization tool created specifically for business travel
An upgraded app that manages all travel functions, another industry first
An online air exchange that simplifies flight rebooking

How frequently we update our app

If Zeus were part of our app dev team, he’d be requesting an extra-strength painkiller right now. We’ve updated our app at least 24 times in the last year. Some of the recent highlights include:
• Single sign-on access to save users time when they access the app.
• Travel risk management: Travel managers can monitor and track their employees around the world in the event of an emergency.
• It’s common for business travelers to have to change their travel plans, often at the last minute. And it’s challenging when you can’t access a laptop. Egencia’s app allows you to easily modify your flight, hotel, car, and train reservations.

How we source inventory across the globe

Zeus had his thunderbolt. That was cool and impressive, of course, but Athena was the goddess of wisdom and crafts. She didn’t just rely on dad’s strengths. We have our own parent, Expedia Group, and we get our inventory from sources that include Expedia Group, but also go far beyond their reach.

We take a multi-sourced approach to inventory, having painstakingly assembled a network of global distribution systems (GDS), aggregators for low-cost content, rail providers, and a staggering number of hotel inventory platforms.

We do this because our customers demand choice. They demand local, relevant content. There’s simply not one platform that delivers this across all countries and every type of travel. You drive us to do more.

How we source deals and find preferred rates

A big part of our business involves sourcing deals suitable for business travelers. Having a vast inventory of hotels is great, but when you serve corporate customers, you want to offer relevant, preferred rates, and visibility into policy restrictions.

With more than 200,000 hotels in our inventory, we offer Egencia Preferred Rates in over 17,000 that include amenities such as breakfast, wi-fi, and parking, all negotiated exclusively for business travelers. We also publish Egencia’s Top 100 preferred corporate hotels, an annual awards program that recognizes the top customer-focused hotels from around the globe.

Going beyond hotels, we’ve spent the last 20 years cultivating supplier relationships spanning the complete travel experience. Our suppliers cover more than 30,000 cities in over 200 countries.

Specialized business travel consultants who are dedicated to your success

Zeus and Athena may have been all-powerful in ancient times, but I know for certain that neither of them ever had to rebook a flight after a missed connection at midnight on a weekend in a foreign country. That’s a modern problem, and it’s one we solve for you. We do this with Egencia’s travel consultants — more than 2,600 of them.

Our consultants are dedicated to your success in business travel. As part of a travel group that has experience in leisure and business travel, we’re acutely aware of the nuances of what you want when you travel for business versus a holiday. See what our travel consultants have to say about working in business travel. Or take a virtual tour with our consultants from around the world.

As you can see, success in the business travel field isn’t an overnight phenomenon. We didn’t arrive in the world fully grown. Building Egencia into the global technology leader in corporate travel has taken a lot of focused effort — work that never stops. We continue to improve every day.

See it for yourself at www.egencia.com.