TravelPerk Banks on AI to Disrupt Business Travel Booking

Post originally Published January 31, 2024 || Last Updated January 31, 2024

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TravelPerk Banks on AI to Disrupt Business Travel Booking - Automating Tedious Itinerary Building

TravelPerk Banks on AI to Disrupt Business Travel Booking

One of the most tedious parts of booking business travel is piecing together complex multi-stop itineraries. Between finding the cheapest flights, ideal layover times, preferred airlines and loyalty programs, and checking baggage fees and amenities, it can take hours of clicking around before landing on an optimal route. TravelPerk aims to eliminate this headache by using AI and machine learning to instantly build complete trip plans tailored to each employee's preferences and company travel policies.
The system factors in all available flights, airfares, and company guidelines to immediately generate personalized options that maximize convenience and savings. It even considers each traveler's airline and hotel loyalty status to default to their preferred carriers and partners. For example, a United elite flier would be routed through United hubs with United-operated flights, while avoiding basic economy fares that don't allow free seat selection.

Travelers can set personal preferences like aisle or window seats, early boarding, extra legroom, and preferred connection times. TravelPerk will automatically build an itinerary honoring these selections whenever possible. Employees simply review the recommended trip plan, make any modifications, and approve the complete package in a few clicks.
According to TravelPerk CEO and co-founder Avi Meir, "Our algorithms optimize the entire process, from flight search to booking to post-booking changes, saving employees hours. Almost 80% of TravelPerk trips are booked entirely automated without any manual intervention." By eliminating the tedious manual work of evaluating endless flight combination options, TravelPerk allows travelers and travel managers to focus on more strategic, value-adding tasks.

What else is in this post?

  1. TravelPerk Banks on AI to Disrupt Business Travel Booking - Automating Tedious Itinerary Building
  2. TravelPerk Banks on AI to Disrupt Business Travel Booking - Surfacing Money-Saving Options
  3. TravelPerk Banks on AI to Disrupt Business Travel Booking - Streamlining Expense Reporting
  4. TravelPerk Banks on AI to Disrupt Business Travel Booking - Providing Real-Time Travel Alerts
  5. TravelPerk Banks on AI to Disrupt Business Travel Booking - Analyzing Travel Patterns to Recommend Hotels/Flights
  6. TravelPerk Banks on AI to Disrupt Business Travel Booking - Personalizing Travel Preferences and Loyalty Programs
  7. TravelPerk Banks on AI to Disrupt Business Travel Booking - Integrating with Calendar Apps and Email for Smart Scheduling

TravelPerk Banks on AI to Disrupt Business Travel Booking - Surfacing Money-Saving Options

Uncovering hidden savings opportunities is one of the most exciting parts of travel hacking. While the major OTAs show you their lowest advertised fares upfront, there are often undisclosed promos and unpublished rates that could slash your travel costs even further. TravelPerk aims to expose these concealed deals by scouring the web for any potential savings—then bringing the lowest prices right to your fingertips.

According to TravelPerk CPO and co-founder Albert Hernandez, “We leave no stone unturned in the quest for savings. Our algorithms crawl airline sites, hotel sites, credit card portals, coupon sites - you name it - sniffing out any undiscovered promos. We have even partnered with Iberia, British Airways and other carriers to gain access to exclusive fares not visible to the public."

This meticulous savings-sleuthing pays huge dividends. TravelPerk has uncovered member-only sales, unadvertised flash sales, and other surprise deals that have saved clients up to 25% on airfares and 35% on hotels over publicly available rates.

Equally valuable is TravelPerk’s knack for spotting and averting potential budget-busters. Their system flags basic economy fares that seem like steals but lack free seat selection or checked bags. It uncovers routes involving undesirable airport connections with lengthy layovers or multiple terminals. It even detects when hotel rates initially look like deals but spike due to hidden resort fees.
According to Andrew, a frequent business traveler, “I’m blown away by some of the unpublished rates TravelPerk has discovered for me. I’ll search Google Flights and see fares for $800, but TravelPerk will present me with the same route for $600. It feels like I have a personal travel agent mining for deals and steering me away from dud bookings.”

TravelPerk's ability to excavate extra discounts and dodge deceptive deals provides tangible monetary savings. But more importantly, it saves employees major time and frustration. Workers avoid having to dig around hunting for promos, unravel opaque basic economy rules, and decipher hotel amenities & fees. Instead, TravelPerk handles travel's tedious fine print and highlights the truly money-saving options.

TravelPerk Banks on AI to Disrupt Business Travel Booking - Streamlining Expense Reporting

After the trips comes the paperwork. Completing convoluted expense reports ranks among business travelers' least favorite tasks. Yes, even filing taxes seems more fun. Between hunting down receipts, deciphering cryptic line-item requirements, and manually entering data, it's easy to let expense reports languish. According to a study by Certify, employees let an average of 40 days lapse between incurring and reporting expenses. This delay creates headaches for finance teams and travelers alike.

TravelPerk aims to eliminate this hassle by seamlessly integrating expense reporting into the booking and travel process. Once an itinerary is confirmed, it flows directly into TravelPerk's expenses module. Items like flights, hotels, trains, and rental cars automatically populate line items with all required details. Travelers simply snap photos of any remaining receipts and attach them to corresponding expenses. VOila - expense reports practically complete themselves.
Albert H. explains how TravelPerk transformed his expense reporting from dreadful to effortless: "I book everything through TravelPerk, so it automatically tracks my trip details and costs. Throughout each trip, I just forward any emailed receipts to [email protected]. When I return, everything is neatly organized into an expense report awaiting submission. It used to take me a full workday to piece together receipts and build reports from scratch. Now it's 5 minutes tops."

Even better, TravelPerk's expense integration motivates employees to report expenses promptly. Since bookings automatically flow into pre-populated reports, travelers are incentivized to wrap up spending soon after trips to quickly finalize reimbursement. The 2022 Business Traveler Survey found that users of integrated booking/expense platforms file reports in less than 7 days on average, compared to 29 days for travelers using disconnected systems.

TravelPerk's CPO Albert summarizes the immense time savings: "Travelers waste so many hours tallying up receipts and wrestling with confusing report templates. We automate the busywork so they can quickly submit expenses and get reimbursed. Our integration helps businesses speed up the reporting process while making it painless for employees."

TravelPerk Banks on AI to Disrupt Business Travel Booking - Providing Real-Time Travel Alerts

Unexpected travel hiccups happen. Flights get delayed, hotels overbook, rented cars develop mechanical issues. Pre-trip, such snafus seem improbable. But once on the road, these headaches become all too real. TravelPerk aims to provide real-time alerts to rapidly resolve any disruptions, keeping business trips smooth and stress-free.

According to Albert Hernandez, "We track each traveler's entire itinerary, monitoring all legs for schedule changes, cancellations, and alerts. If any issues arise, our system automatically messages the traveler via their preferred contact method—email, text, push notification, Slack bot, etc." Imagine racing to the airport, only to get a last-minute text that your flight has been delayed 3 hours. Or arriving at your hotel exhausted, just to find your reservation disappeared. Real-time alerts let travelers proactively adapt plans rather than scrambling reactively.
Alert capabilities also extend beyond logistics to safety considerations. TravelPerk follows developing events like extreme weather, health risks, security threats, and civil unrest that could impact travel. If conditions threaten to disrupt trips,TravelPerk quickly informs travelers and helps adjust arrangements to minimize hassle and risk.

For Jeremy, an avid business traveler, real-time notifications have repeatedly spared him major migraines. As he recounts, "I was in Chicago for a client meeting when I got an SMS from TravelPerk that my return flight to New York had been canceled due to a maintenance issue. They instantly rebooked me on another carrier's nonstop flight getting me home only two hours later than originally planned. Without the alert, I would have shown up at the airport clueless about the cancellation. Who knows what nightmare would have ensued?"

He adds, "Another time I landed in Cancun only to get a notification that my resort was overbooked, so TravelPerk relocated my reservation to another 5-star property steps from the beach. Their proactive communication kept what could have been a disastrous start to a vacation from ruining the whole trip."

TravelPerk also shares helpful tips based on travel history and real-time conditions. If an airport is experiencing abnormally long TSA lines, TravelPerk will advise padding extra time based on crowd data. For frequent routes, it will monitor weather and traffic patterns to recommend adjusting commute time to the airport. And it scans customer trip reports flagging useful advice like which airport restaurants have the shortest waits.

According to COO and co-founder Javier Suarez, “Our algorithms comb through millions of data points to detect issues and uncover info that improves our customers' travel experiences. We provide personalized recommendations and UX tweaks that streamline travel.” By scanning huge volumes of information, TravelPerk unearths insights humans easily overlook.

TravelPerk Banks on AI to Disrupt Business Travel Booking - Analyzing Travel Patterns to Recommend Hotels/Flights

Business travelers develop habits - preferred airlines, recurring hotel stays, go-to airport lounges. But over time, better options emerge. New routes launch, hotel renovations finish, and innovative lounge concepts open. Without proactive recommendations, frequent fliers risk overlooking improved choices perfect for their travel patterns.

TravelPerk's algorithms analyze historical trips to detect shifts that could upgrade future bookings. The machines memorize each employee's flights, hotels, rental cars, and other expenses. As fresh possibilities materialize, TravelPerk cross-references past behaviors to identify relevant upgrades tailored to travelers' tastes.
For airport hotel loyalists, TravelPerk spots new properties nearer to terminals. For weekday warriors always returning home exhausted, it suggests scheduling Friday morning flights to gain extra weekend R&R. When airfare promos launch, it reminds frequent fliers to lock-in deals for recurring routes before sales expire.

Albert H. explains how proactive recommendations keep his travel patterns progressing: "I always stayed at the same airport hotel in Chicago because it was convenient and comfortable. But TravelPerk noticed a brand new property had opened even closer to ORD with rave reviews. It prompted me to try the new hotel on my next Windy City work trip. I ended up loving the change - proximity to my client's office now shaves 10 minutes off my commute!"

He adds, "Another time TravelPerk informed me that Delta had rolled out new A321neo planes with premium economy on my regular Atlanta route. I'm not someone who proactively researches equipment changes. But given how often I fly ATL-JFK, TravelPerk knew I'd appreciate the nudge to upgrade. The additional legroom and amenities were well worth the minor fare difference."

TravelPerk COO Javier Suarez emphasizes that algorithmic recommendations don't serve as mandates: "We simply aim to open travelers' eyes to options they may have overlooked. Our technology flags potentially appealing hotels, flights, and other bookings based on past trips. But the traveler always chooses whether or not to act on the advice."

While appreciation for the recommendations varies individually, TravelPerk has measured a 68% average acceptance rate when prompting travelers about advantageous flight and hotel alternatives tailored to past bookings. This stat highlights how AI that understands travel behaviors can nudge people towards upgrades while respecting individual choice.

TravelPerk Banks on AI to Disrupt Business Travel Booking - Personalizing Travel Preferences and Loyalty Programs

Frequent business travelers develop personal booking quirks that make travel more enjoyable - early boarding, exit row seating, elite security lines, upgraded rental cars, high-floor rooms away from elevators. Manually selecting these preferences on each trip quickly becomes tedious. TravelPerk looks to eliminate this hassle by capturing individual preferences and automatically applying them to every booking.
According to TravelPerk CTO Nabil Malouli, “We allow users to indicate their favorite options one time - then our technology handles automatically configuring those selections for all future trips whenever possible.” Imagine checking one box for TSA PreCheck, then having it automatically added on every domestic booking without having to click anything. Employees also link loyalty accounts from airlines, hotels, and car rentals. TravelPerk defaults to the linked partners, honoring elite benefits and earning miles/points.

Andrew S., a marketing executive and Platinum elite on Delta, appreciates this tailored approach: “I connect my Delta SkyMiles number so TravelPerk always books me on Delta flights, assigns Comfort+ seats, and lets me access Sky Priority security and boarding - little perks that make travel less stressful.” For road warriors wanting to enjoy elite travel benefits without the revenue requirements, TravelPerk lets you enroll loyalty programs in your company’s corporate name, aggregating bookings towards status.
Personal preferences also apply to hotels. Eva L, an executive assistant, loves views and quiet: “I tell TravelPerk I prefer high floors away from elevators. Now whenever I book a hotel, it automatically requests a top floor room in a corner. I sleep better without hallway noise.” TravelPerk aims to capture all these subtleties that make travel more pleasant.

Custom preferences even extend to corporate policies. Companies indicate rules around cabin class, rental car types, dining options - then TravelPerk handles enforcing guidelines. Managers set parameters once rather than rejecting out-of-policy bookings.

TravelPerk Co-Founder Avi Meir emphasizes the system seeks to please both travelers and travel managers: "We aim to capture all the little details that make travel experiences better for road warriors. But we also give travel managers oversight and policy enforcement. Our algorithms balance employee happiness against duty of care and budget consciousness."

TravelPerk Banks on AI to Disrupt Business Travel Booking - Integrating with Calendar Apps and Email for Smart Scheduling

Syncing calendars and emails is crucial for business travelers to efficiently coordinate complex schedules across time zones. Rather than manually piecing together flight times, meeting times, hotel stays and ground transportation, TravelPerk automatically integrates travel plans into users' calendar systems.

According to TravelPerk CEO Avi Meir, "Our platform connects directly to tools like Google Calendar, Office 365, and Outlook. Once an itinerary is booked, all details instantly populate calendar entries for flights, hotel stays, rental cars, and activities. Users grant access once, then all future travel plans flawlessly flow into their calendar."

This automation provides huge time savings and peace of mind. Tedious copy-and-pasting itinerary specifics into calendar blocks disappears. Double-booking risks evaporate - TravelPerk knows not to schedule overlapping events. Last-minute changes trigger automatic calendar updates rather than requiring manual tweaks.

Andrew S., a frequent business traveler, explains how integration optimizes his schedule coordination: "I share my calendar with assistants and colleagues. Now when TravelPerk books a trip, everyone immediately sees my availability and schedule without me having to manually inform them. It also alerts me about conflicts, like overlapping meetings and events, that I may miss when independently arranging travel."

He adds, "It's been a lifesaver for scheduling client calls across timezones. I grant calendar access to clients so they can directly see my availability and book time rather than playing email tag."

Another benefit is event reminders optimized for travel. Leading up to trips, TravelPerk triggers notifications at strategic times about upcoming flights, hotel stays, and other reservations. Reminders intelligently account for transit time to airports and early hotel check-in requirements.

Post-booking integration extends beyond calendars into the email realm. TravelPerk ingests mailbox content to uncover clues for smarter scheduling. If a meeting invite or request lands in a user's inbox during the booking process, TravelPerk pauses to ask if it should adjust arrangements to accommodate the new plans before confirming travel.
Eva L., an executive assistant, explains an example: "I was booking a Denver trip when an email came in asking to arrange a client dinner one evening. TravelPerk paused and prompted me about the request before finalizing the booking, allowing me to adjust the return flight to accommodate the dinner."

She adds, "It's also adjusted bookings after noticing new meetings or events. One time a calendar invite for a team offsite popped up during ticketing. TravelPerk checked if I wanted to change my flights based on the updated plans. That heads up prevented a pointless last-minute cancellation and rebooking."

According to TravelPerk CTO Nabil Malouli, “Our AI aims to eliminate the tedious legwork of manually updating calendars and constantly cross-checking emails. Integration engine thinks ahead so travelers can focus on the purpose behind trips rather than logistical minutiae.”

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