Corporate booking and travel management startups are ten a penny right now. But SalesTrip has a distinct point of differentiation. Launching in February 2019, the startup claims to be the first native booking and expense offering built within Salesforce, the huge customer relationship management platform with 150,000 customers of its own.
At The Beat Live this month, EAB VP of business solutions Steven Mandelbaum sat down with his fellow corporate travel buyers for the annual Buyers' Table session. Anthem's Cindy Heston, FINRA's Carol McDowell, Evercore's Jason Ring and KBB Partners' Mira Rosenzweig joined for a lively discussion on travel management company relationships, exploring new booking technologies and testing the waters with startups.
A few years ago, startups going explicitly after the corporate travel market were few and far between. Now, the number of new entrants and tech providers entering is growing, and so is the sum of venture capital behind them.
If it wasn't already clear that Sam was a fundamental piece of Flight Centre's corporate traveler-facing technology offering, take note that the Australian travel agency conglomerate last month paid 4.2 million Australian dollars ($3 million U.S.) to take full ownership of the developer behind Sam, its mobile in-trip management system.
Even if plenty of managed travel professionals reject the concept, players that incentivize corporate travelers to beat trip budgets have gained investors, partners and some user acceptance. The latest to market is Tripkicks, which was founded this year with backing from Acquis Consulting to set trip budgets and offer monetary rewards to managed travelers who come in under budget.
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.
To assess major technology concepts and examine how they are applied within the corporate travel ecosystem, The Beat this year handpicked a few dozen experts attuned to trends in technology and travel to rate the coming relevance of seven computer science and tech fields.
New blood, new tech and new names are now a fixture of the managed travel landscape, following an era when far fewer travel tech startups explicitly pursued a corporate audience. The Beat reached out to industry veterans with one question: What would you tell a startup coming into corporate travel technology?
Not content with having raised $21 million in Series B investment in April 2018, new-gen travel management platform TravelPerk has successfully passed the hat around a second time in the same year. The company announced this week that it has drummed up Series C funding of $44 million, backed by technology investors such as Kinnevik, Yuri Milner and Tom Stafford.
Tech companies that help travel programs incentivize employees to book at lower prices have been attracting fresh funding. TripActions announced $51 million of Series B financing in March, and Rocketrip won $15 million of Series C financing in April. Those follow TravelBank's $25 million Series B funding last year for its travel booking and expense technology that also promotes a rewards program for travelers who beat budgets.