BCD Travel, RouteRank Engineering End-To-End Planning System

BCD Travel said clients are showing "great interest" in its six-month old partnership with routeRank, a seven-year old Swiss firm that enables door-to-door planning and incorporates total trip costs, virtual conferencing options and energy-efficiency data. Offering connections by "rail, road and air," routeRank's "patent-pending technology finds and ranks the best possible travel routes" by time, price or mode of transport.

Clients find the remote conferencing integration "very intriguing," according to BCD Travel senior vice president of strategic marketing April Bridgeman. "We also are seeing a great demand in the tool's capability to find the best destination for a meeting when people travel from multiple locations. Is Brussels the best place for the meeting or would Berlin be better? RouteRank can collect all the individual preferences and help make that decision."

In a research paper, BCD Travel suggested that "giving travelers a tool like this helps travel managers extend their influence to the planning stage of the trip while giving travelers a solution that saves much time and uncertainty looking for the best journey options."

BCD is working with clients to integrate routeRank "into their own platforms," and three online booking tools have agreed to collaborate, according to Bridgeman. "We are also looking at how routeRank can help our own agents," she noted.

Travel content in routeRank also includes airport shuttles and other driving options.

"Available idle time for working" can be included as a factor, for example to account for working time on a train. Driving alone is not assumed to be working time despite the prevalence of mobile business conversations. But that, too, can be customized, said routeRank founder and CEO Jochen Mundinger.

"This is not in production yet, but one customer wants to weight it with the paycheck of those traveling," he said.

Preferred airports and risks of travel disruption also can be incorporated.

In an interview this month, Mundinger said he is providing the travel management solution to five travel management companies, a couple of Swiss public sector organizations and "a few dozen" mainly European corporations.

The company offers a limited consumer version, while the business version can include searchable points for such specific addresses as customer locations or corporate offices. "Custom developed versions can integrate with online booking tools, travel management companies and Intranet portals, as well as online travel agency and meta-search consumer travel portals and other websites," according to routeRank. Also part of the high-end offering are self-branding and integration of corporate rates, videoconferencing providers and carbon calculators and offset tools.

Public transport data is available for several European countries, and routeRank expects to add London public transport "soon." The company offers a small and medium enterprise version, as well as white-label capabilities for event organizers and transport companies seeking to add logistics information to their websites.

Mundinger said RouteRank offers both fixed and variable pricing.