BackBid Targets Managed Corporate Programs

Hotel deal-shopping tool BackBid is turning a sharper eye toward the managed travel market with a specialized version that works in conjunction with corporate booking technology.

Launched about two years ago, BackBid follows a mini-reverse auction model. Users provide to the site either travel plans or a completed reservation, and hotels then send users competing counter-offers. In recent weeks, the company within a controlled group of users completed beta testing of BackBid Travel Manager, a version geared toward the corporate market. Co-founder and executive vice president of marketing Chris Patridge said the company now will actively pursue midsize companies__those with at least a few hundred room reservations each year__and in particular will "aggressively target finance departments with messaging on sharp savings at no cost."

The process behind Travel Manager is similar to the standard BackBid tool but includes some tweaks for the corporate environment.

"We made it easy and seamless to upload existing reservations from Concur to BackBid Travel Manager," Patridge said. "The upload process has been designed to work in an efficient manner with any corporate hotel booking tool."

In Travel Manager, corporate travelers can prioritize and rank properties as offers come in, and the designated travel administrator can view those preferences, Patridge explained. Account setup also is automated for corporate travelers, and they can use the same account for both business bookings and their personal leisure bookings.

Denver-based information security company Accuvant was among the first to use Travel Manager, sending bookings from Concur to BackBid, which provided a dashboard to display competing bids. Accuvant expense control manager Jennifer Sanchez in a statement noted that it was "simple to view and reserve bids from hotels with no interruption or inconvenience to our corporate travelers."

Overall, Patridge reported that 90 percent of reservations posted in the tool during beta tests generated competitive offers, and about one-third of those offers were upgrades to a higher-tier hotel. He said average savings per booking was about 35 percent.