The ATPI Group has announced a new technology-focused investment strategy with the launch of a programme to support tech start-ups, including online booking tool Taptrip.

The Endeavour programme will offer both financial backing and market knowledge to technology start-ups that are “disrupting and driving the sector”, according to ATPI. It will be built on the group’s existing proprietary capabilities and will be structured as a series of individual investment and development projects.

The group said it is focusing its investment and growth strategy on companies that are looking to innovate and create new solutions. The priority for the programme is on start-ups that have the capability and agility to build and grow their software to meet the changing needs of customers, both on the buyer and traveller side.

ATPI said the new strategy comes as a direct response to changing trends in corporate travel and booking behaviours. It will go hand-in-hand with the firm’s commitment to further improve its own services via a comprehensive suite of technology.

Chief innovation and technology officer Ali Hussain commented: “ATPI has a long-standing history of investment in innovative technology which we have achieved either from a proprietary position or as a strategic partner. As part of this new strategy, we are keen to build on this by investing in technology that focuses on the next stage of the innovation cycle – the individualised customer experience.

“We know from our own portfolio, a significant portion of which are SMEs, that there is a keen demand for technology to meet the needs of growing SMEs. These customers look to ATPI to provide technology and services that meet the ever-evolving needs of their own business travellers as the business itself evolves. To achieve this we are constantly looking for future investment opportunities with like-minded technology companies that offer innovative and revolutionary solutions.

“The Endeavour programme keeps a watching brief for true disruptors in this space that show promise of scale for us and our clients. This is a key factor when deciding which companies will be part of this new strategy. Our approach and investments will enable us to further build our customer offer through new integrations and tailored solutions which will lead the market.”

As part of this strategy, the group has also launched Project Edge, an early stage, “significant” investment in Taptrip, which it said it already making in-roads in revolutionising the online booking experience. The investment will earn ATPI a seat on the Taptrip board.

Taptrip was recently shortlisted for Best Self-Booking Tool at the 2020 Business Travel Awards.

Under the agreement, ATPI customers will now have full access to Taptrip’s solution, while the TMC will act as the fulfilment partner for all bookings made via the platform.

Taptrip co-founder and COO Neil Ruth commented: “92 per cent of the SME market is under-represented and serviced poorly when it comes to travel management. SMEs rarely understand or know what a travel policy is or that one can save them time and money as well as increase customer satisfaction and employee acquisition and retention. As a result, business travel management offers an unrivalled opportunity for savings, efficiency and productivity improvements. Taptrip is leading this charge by doing things differently, making the enforcement of travel policies, expense tracking and managing business travel as easy as using Netflix. This partnership with ATPI is an exciting validation of our approach.”

Adam Knights, regional MD for the UK, Benelux and France at ATPI, added: “ATPI has a proven track record of embracing innovation to help businesses maximise value and return on business travel. We are now set to offer our SME clients access to this new generation online booking tool, delivering them an even higher level of customer experience and travel savings opportunities. This partnership will not only make it even easier and more rewarding to book online, but also enable us to access the small and medium enterprises and high growth start-ups using Taptrip. Given the volume of unmanaged travel currently within the SME market, this is a great opportunity for ATPI to continue to grow our share and also further realise our own ambitions for the continued development of our technology portfolio.”

ATPI expects to make further investments and partnerships in the coming months.

ATPI has made a number of advancements in its technology offering in recent years, including a global agreement with Serko to offer the Zeno travel and expense platform to its clients.

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