Travel commerce platform Travelport and global tech giant IBM have partnered to launch IBM Travel Manager, and artificially intelligent platform designed to help businesses manage corporate travel spend.

Delivered via the IBM Cloud, the platform uses IBM Watson’s AI capabilities to intelligently track, manage, predict and analyse travel costs.

The firms say that with the GBTA’s projection that global travel spend will reach a record US$1.2 trillion this year, corporate travel managers are looking for new ways to reduce costs. They comment that the platform will save travel managers time sifting through data from travel agencies, cards, expense systems and suppliers.

The new platform features advanced AI and provides cognitive computing, predictive data analytics using ‘what-if’ scenarios and integrated travel and expense data to help businesses optimise their travel programme, control spend and enhance the traveller experience.

When combined with travel data from the Travelport GDS, IBM Travel Manager gives users access to previous information, which is then used to create real-time predictive analytics recommending how adjustments in travel booking behaviour can impact a company’s budget.

An interactive dashboard gives users end-to-end visibility of travel spending, the ability to create alerts and notifications, predictive and pre-defined spending trend analysis and natural language understanding to analyse text and uncover insights from structured and unstructured data.

IBM Travel Manager is expected to be commercially available to both IBM and Travelport customers.

Fiona Shanley, chief customer and marketing officer at Travelport, commented: “While other solutions only provide a fragmented historical picture, IBM Travel Manager combines and normalises data from all key sources, allowing for more robust insights and benchmarking than other reporting solutions.”

Elizabeth Pollock, industry client leader for travel and transportation at IBM, added: “IBM and Travelport are using the power of AI to unlock previously unavailable insights from multiple internal and external data sources. Travel managers can use this information to proactively drive improved supplier negotiations via real-time and holistic data, enable budget holders to understand and change spending patterns, and improve travel policy compliance monitoring.”;

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