KDS Launches Personalized Search, Content Hub For Neo

Paris – Travel and expense management company KDS announced several changes and enhancements for its Neo door-to-door booking tool during the company's annual conference here, including personalized search results, a content hub and an upcoming mobile app.

Neo now displays policy-compliant search results based on each user's past booking preferences, including travel times, common city pairs and preferred hotels. For travelers heading to new locations, Neo bases results on colleagues' booked data.

KDS launched Content Hub to enable suppliers for a fee to display content to users via Neo's application programming interface. KDS signed ground transport companies Addison Lee, Cabforce, GroundScope and SnapCar before launch, and CEO Dean Forbes hopes to attract air, hotel and airport parking providers.

Additionally, KDS has enabled nonusers to test Neo through Neo Play and send the resulting itinerary to their own travel managers or booking agents. While Forbes admitted it sounds "unusual to put everything out in a consumerized environment," the move could help the company answer potential clients' questions and minimize requests for proposal.

Coming Up

In September, KDS expects to launch the Neo Move mobile app, which will send notifications and trip details based on travelers' progress through their itineraries. For example, the app will prompt a traveler who has just paid for a cab using a corporate card to photograph the receipt. If that cab delivered the passenger to the airport, the app will also send the user terminal details.

"It knows when to give me the information about that part of the trip," explained KDS senior vice president of products, partners and marketing Oliver Quayle.

The app also will allow users to view details for future legs. A traveler about to leave France for New York, for example, could tap on the New York leg and access Yelp via KDS Move to research restaurants near the hotel. "Instead of finding restaurants here, it'll look for restaurants where you're going to be," Quayle explained.

KDS aims to solve travel-app overload by placing them all on one platform, a follow-through to Forbes' previous reference to creating a "Holy Grail app."

KDS also plans a pilot program for Neo Solo, which will step away from the product's door-to-door format to allow users to book single hotels and flights. To achieve single bookings, users now must delete unwanted legs, Forbes explained. He says the offering is not a step backward. KDS always wanted to offer single-booking functionality, he said, but first wanted customers to get used to the idea of door-to-door bookings.

"It'll only be available in January or February of Q1, depending on the success of the beta program," he said.

The company also plans a program to give certified companies priority for KDS support. And this year it will build an online social community for users, partners and KDS to collaborate, executive vice president of business operations Roxana Bressy said.

For the company's fiscal year ending March 31, North America accounted for about 18 percent of new customer revenue and is expected to make up 25 percent by March 31, 2016, according to Forbes. The company also claimed 116 new Neo Travel customers at the end of March, contributing to 366 total.