Hotlist 2016: Technology

Over the past few years technology developments in the managed travel sector have accelerated and companies are starting to see the potential of targeting business travellers. From new innovations to large consumer operators moving into this sector, 2016 could be a big year for the following:

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CARLSON WAGONLIT TRAVEL HAS SPENT THE PAST TWO YEARS developing its latest reporting tool, CWT Analytiqs. It offers buyers a dashboard that can be customised and populated with near real-time data, which means within 30 minutes of booking. Another feature of the enhanced dashboard is an area highlighting specific recom­mended actions that buyers can make to improve the performance of their programmes.

The new tool will also display buyers’ own travel data benchmarked against the best performers in the industry and CWT client averages. CWT estimates that more than 5,000 buyers will use the tool following its roll-out in December.

Standard life procurement specialist Lesley Prandstatter says she has already been using the tool and that it has helped achieve business goals. “The dashboard is easy to use and it’s real-time data, so I have quick access to the latest information when I need it, rather than running reports in the programme management centre.”


AIRBNB MADE IT ON TO THE HOTLIST IN 2014 AND 2015, but this year we are featuring Bird Office, which has been dubbed ‘the Airbnb of meeting space bookings’.

Bird Office is a simple way to book a room for a meeting, training session or conference – just enter the destination, date and how many people are attend­ing, and a list of options will appear. The nicer rooms with better locations are more expensive, but there are also venues to suit more modest budgets, which can be booked by the hour, half day or full day.

There is also a host of options to filter your search by criteria, such as venues with whiteboards, disabled access, natural light and even a microwave oven. Bookers can also choose the layout of their room, from theatre-style to round table. As it’s relatively new there aren’t massive amounts of in­ventory as yet, but expect that to grow this year. And for businesses with extra space, it is easy to put it up for rent on the site.”


OPTIONIZR IS A NEW PRODUCT that lets you lock in a price you have found for a product or fare online, and then gives you five days to make the purchase before deciding to go ahead with the booking.

The French-based company was nominated by Carlson Wagonlit Travel’s VP for corporate innovation, Vincent Lebunetel, who says: “Optionizr is bringing new ways for corporates to optimise their travel spend, and for suppliers to increase their sales opportunities.”

Optionizr only takes a flat fee on options sold, and the company claims it can be integrated on to a site in less than a minute. The tech firm also recently featured at Welcome City Lab – an innovation programme based in Paris.

This could be a good tool for smaller companies who are only booking a few trips a month and can be more flexible.


OVER THE PAST 12 MONTHS, Travelport’s Niklas Andréen has had full profit and loss accountability for US$13 billion transacted value and US$300 million revenue across hotel, car, ground trans­portation and digital media business.

Last year, Andréen grew the car side of Travelport’s business to over 85 million car rental days.

He also led the acquisition and expansion of Travelport Hotelzon from two European countries to a network of 14. By the end of 2015, Travelport’s Beyond Air business (includ­ing hospitality) had delivered revenue growth of 17 per cent, or US$129 million, year-on-year.

He was nominated, by HRS managing director Jon West, “for transforming Travel­port’s back-end distribution system from pure GDS to a comprehensive travel commerce platform”.


AMONG THE TRAVEL BUYING COMMUNITY, the jury is still out on Uber over duty-of-care issues, despite the ride-sharing taxi app striking deals with Concur and launching new products such as Uber Pool. It was a turbulent year for Uber, with the company facing a backlash from governments and taxi drivers alike complaining of unfair practices.

This is an area that licensed taxi app Hailo feels it can target.

In October, it announced it was going “back to black” after resigning its private hire licence and returning to black cab-only in London – a show of support for taxi drivers who have protested about Uber. Hailo CEO Andrew Pinnington said the company is committed to go “100 per cent Hackney carriage” and, with Transport for London launching a consultation to modernise private car regulations on services such as Uber, this move could make it a good year for Hailo.

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