Posted January 29, 2014

TripLingo Completes Shift To Corporate Market

Language learning app TripLingo on Wednesday released the third version of its mobile app, an upgrade designed to appeal to enterprise corporate users, travel management companies and other "channel partners," according to founder and CEO Jesse Maddox. Born in 2011 as a consumer-oriented translation app, TripLingo has drawn accolades around the industry and now is available in 12 languages and on iOS and Android mobile platforms.

Maddox claimed "two Fortune 100 enterprise customers," pilots with a dozen Fortune 500 companies and an unnamed mega travel management company and partnerships with other TMCs including Atlas Travel, CorpTrav and TravelSolutions by Campbell.

"It was really about a year and a half ago that we started to earnestly look at the business travel market," Maddox told The Beat. "This version is the culmination of a lot of that learning."

The new version comes with back-end functionality that enables enterprise clients paying a discounted monthly license fee to manage users and access analytics to see who used the app, the most-used features and other information. Enterprises also can customize the app. For example, when their individual travelers log in to TripLingo, the client's branding appears in the interface and contact information for a designated security provider and travel agency become accessible. Each traveler also is allotted a certain amount of "live translator minutes," Maddox said. "It's not a very heavily used feature, but more of an insurance policy if something goes wrong."

TripLingo also has integrated with Concur and is available in the Concur App Center. Travelers from mutual Concur and TripLingo clients automatically are alerted to any upcoming international trips and linked to TripLingo. Concur integration also can help facilitate an agency's role in hooking up clients with TripLingo. "A lot of the TMCs we work with are Concur resellers, and a large percentage of their clients are on Concur," Maddox explained.

"I was in a presentation last Friday where I am competing against Egencia, and of course they have an open platform," said TravelSolutions by Campbell executive vice president Steve Sedgwick. "When you are looking to bring that value to a customer and bring apps from within the Concur App Center, we see that as a value-add. Companies are embracing the idea of equipping their travelers with tools. Our role as a TMC emerging in the future is being able to look at 100 or 200 apps and help companies design a booking tool specifically for groups or users. We want to bring those apps for our customers, enable them, and when we do that, we have business relationships already established with the various apps, which can generate new sources of revenue."

At Atlas Travel, TripLingo appears to be a nice fit for the TMC's "client-specific travel portal," which will include tools from various third parties, according to an Atlas official. "What is particularly exciting about this and other integrations on the horizon is that they will all be completely automated," the official added. "In the case of TripLingo, our mid-office technology would first determine an individual traveler's destination. If the result was an international destination whose official language was not English, the itinerary data would prompt us to provide relevant, targeted messaging to the traveler, linking to the corresponding translation product."

TripLingo also is working to get the latest version into the Sabre Red App Centre, which Maddox said he expects to occur in the next month or two, and Travelport Marketplace.

"Integration with Sabre, Travelport and Concur are meant to make those [TMC] partnerships easier, but they are not required at all," Maddox said. "The things we need from TMCs, a lot of them already have the capability to do on their own. TMCs essentially are a reseller to their enterprise clients. It streamlines the onboarding process for enterprises, making it easier than dealing with procurement, legal and IT when the TMC is essentially handling the sale."

Attracting enterprise customers also means providing relevant content and capabilities. For starters, the new version "merges" into one what had been separate TripLingo and TripLingo Business Class apps, the latter of which provided additional learning tools. "We didn't want enterprise customers to get confused and download the wrong version, and it also streamlines development," Maddox said. "Business Class was tame, very professional. The consumer version had a more playful aesthetic to it. The new version basically retains some of the aesthetics of the consumer version, while being clean and professional and appropriate for business travelers."

In addition to more language features and client-specific security and agency information, the app now also allows any user with a Wi-Fi connection to place a phone call from their location to the United States, using that connection rather than racking up roaming charges.

Next Steps

Maddox said integration with other corporate booking tools may be ready later this year, "but we're more focused now on the Sabre and Travelport integrations for travel agents first."

Meanwhile, TripLingo continues working with Grasp Technologies on an ROI calculator. "We haven't finalized the output yet," Maddox said, adding that "something" may come from it in three or four months. "They bring all the analytics for customers into one house, and part of that will be TripLingo in that dashboard."

Maddox also noted that white-label versions for the hotel industry are "in the works," similar to Cruise Lingo, a partnership announced in June with Celebrity Cruiselines. In the first week of availability in Apple's app store, he claimed the version "garnered more downloads than all of [Celebrity's] other apps combined had to date."

Posted by: David Jonas | More by David Jonas

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