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.
Priceline founder Jay Walker's travel startup Upside serves the unmanaged travel segment. The company sells travel packages and positions a rewards scheme directly to end users. It is intended for neither the enterprise nor the managed travel segment—not yet.
Priceline founder Jay Walker is finally giving the lowdown on Upside, his business travel venture that is opening beta testing today, ahead of a soft launch in mid-September. As he describes it, Upside is a "flexibility engine" that bundles air and hotel packages while rewarding users with gift cards that grow in value the more flexible their travel plans are. For now, the company is targeting the unmanaged set, but Walker sees applicability—down the road, at least—for the managed segment, as well.
Delta in the next month plans to become Level 3 certified under the International Air Transport Association's New Distribution Capability program, joining some of the largest airlines in the world in reaching the milestone, including competitors American Airlines and United Airlines.
This week, prolific inventor and Priceline founder Jay Walker told investors in his intellectual property firm, Walker Innovation: "As the chairman and largest shareholder, I know I speak for everybody when I say that we are unhappy with the performance of the business and the stock to this point."
Milwaukee-based travel management company Adelman plans to launch an out-of-the box offering for small businesses to transition from unmanaged to managed travel.
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.