Short's Travel Management white-labeled technology from ProcureApp to launch by January a further simplification of its BookIt process allowing corporate travelers to search anywhere but book airline tickets through the travel management company.
The approach takes advantage of the proprietary Short's corporate booking tool and the original BookIt concept, announced a year ago. For travelers employed by firms that install the technology on company-owned hardware, a BookIt Button displays in the web browser after air travel options are selected from searches on a wide variety of sites. If travelers are buying business travel, they enter into a pop-up window their company email address and BookIt applies travel policies, mixes in negotiated rates and returns the results in an email "just as if they had been searching with a corporate booking tool," according to Short's. From that email, flights can be purchased online "in two clicks."
Another simple way for users to send itinerary search results to the Short's BookIt solution is to click an email function built into sites like Hipmunk or ITA Software's Matrix. But not all air travel sites have that function.
BookIt helps travel managers answer travelers who believe they can find options "faster and cheaper" on the Internet, according to Short's Travel Management CEO David LeCompte. Particularly with the new button, LeCompte said, "it's kind of like PayPal__you can shop wherever but check out through Short's. Travelers don't care where they purchase; they care where they shop."
BookIt allows travel managers to track unused tickets and agents to offer service to the travelers en route__two elements missing from some approaches, LeCompte argued. And with Concur's Open Booking, he noted, "you need profiles on Avis, Marriott, etc. Here you need only one."
Users need to be customers of travel management and corporate booking tool services from Short's. But while acknowledging that BookIt's penetration has been shallower than he hoped, LeCompte said his first license to another travel management company is on the near horizon.
Another take on changing the shopping and booking process for managed travelers is underway at KDS, which itself partnered with ProcureApp to collect data on off-channel bookings and/or redirect them to corporate-approved options.
ProcureApp CEO Phil Hammer said the KDS deal is exclusive in Europe, whereas Short's is not set up to be its only such partner in the United States. "We're talking to other TMCs," Hammer said. "What's unique about Short's is they're able to do the mid-office treatment prior to booking. I'm not aware of anyone else discussing that. Also, not every TMC owns their own booking tool."
Business Travel News last week recognized LeCompte as one of the 25 most influential industry executives for his company's innovations during the past year.