American Express Global Business Travel today is announcing a commercial deal with Lola to fill a product gap in the mega travel management company's product portfolio for small and midsize companies that have less complexity than typical Amex GBT clients. Lola, meanwhile, gains a large ally to boost adoption of its technology for travelers and travel program administrators in the lightly managed corporate travel sector.
Ever since it launched, Jay Walker's business travel startup Upside has gone directly after the end-user business traveler. More recently, the company has added a few tools and perks for the employer, including employee onboarding support, reports on spending and a cashback rewards program for participating companies.
Business travel entrant Upside last week revealed in a mobile app update that Southwest Airlines bookings "are now available for work travel." Southwest's testing with Upside is "very early days," said Dave Harvey, the carrier's managing director of business development.
Another week, another couple of entrants chasing the unmanaged-to-lightly managed business travel segment.
Travel startup 30SecondsToFly is shifting its focus from directly serving small and midsize business accounts to developing AI-powered chat-based booking systems for travel management companies.
With a recent round of seed funding, Shep is finding its footing in business travel. The Austin-based startup has built a browser extension, compatible with Google Chrome, that tracks traveler interactions on public travel websites, highlights in-policy options and pulls in booking confirmations for tracking and reporting.
In a memo to Concur's preferred travel management company partners last week, EVP of supplier and TMC services Mike Koetting called small businesses the industry's "white whale." With its new Concur Hipmunk product for unmanaged travel, Concur has sharpened its harpoon and joined plenty of would-be Captain Ahabs.
It used to be that if business travelers wanted to reach a travel agent, their only option was a phone call. Now, corporate travel agencies of all sizes are supporting multiple modes of communications, including chat and SMS texting, to help travelers plan, book and manage trips.