Inside Travel: Understanding the latest technology and industry trend insights

Find it hard to keep track with all the latest insights into business trends, new products and technology advancements in the travel sector? The Blue Swan Daily provides you with an update on some of the key stories from the past week.

  • Egencia launches hotel conversion, air and hotel packages and updates its traveller tracker
  • Wyndham Rewards looks to enhance its rewards programmes to further boost loyalty
  • Traveldoo launches new user interface promising better usability and a consistent experience
  • Hotelbeds builds on its strategy to fully integrate Tourico Holidays and GTA into Hotelbeds to form one enhanced bedbank
  • UATP Network to offer Conferma Pay virtual payments

Egencia launches hotel conversion, air and hotel packages and updates its traveller tracker

Egencia, business travel from Expedia Group, has added three new customer-centric features on its global business travel platform, designed to enhance customer experiences, business value and employee care: Hotel Conversions, Air and Hotel, and an update of its Traveler Tracker.

Hotel Conversations enables two-way communication between business travellers and their hotel at the touch of a finger and the ability and flexibility to ask questions, confirm details, and share updated travel plans at any step of their journey through the Egencia app.

The Egencia Air and Hotel packages will help companies benefit from a lower overall trip cost whilst business travellers can unlock access to more top-rated hotels that may otherwise be out of policy. Once business travellers book their flight, they will see recommended special rate hotels available to book immediately or within 10 days.

With duty of care front of mind for all companies, travel managers already use Egencia’s Traveler Tracker to instantly see where their employees are in the world and support travellers during any unforeseen situations. Now the latest update includes the option to search a larger geographic area through region search. With this new feature, travel managers can simply draw a circle or square over the online map to see if any of their employees are in an area.


Wyndham Rewards looks to enhance its rewards programmes to further boost loyalty

Wyndham Rewards plans to enhance its rewards programmes with effect from Apr-2019 introducing a wide-array of new features – from free nights at thousands of hotels starting at just 7,500 points (half their original redemption cost), to the addition of more than 900 La Quinta hotels, to the ability to earn and redeem points with a host of new and expanded partners.

The changes are “a direct response to research and feedback from programme members,” explains the hotelier and are part of Wyndham’s ongoing commitment to delivering a simple, generous rewards programme to travellers. It currently has approximately 61 million enrolled members worldwide.


Traveldoo launches new user interface promising better usability and a consistent experience

Traveldoo, the travel and expense technology company from Expedia Group launched a new user interface for their online booking tool (OBT) at the recent Business Travel Show in London, promising “better usability, fresh looks and a consistent experience across travel booking and expense management”.

The Traveldoo platform is designed to give business travellers a one-stop shop for air, hotel, rail and car bookings, with real-time on-trip expense approval via its native mobile application. The new iteration is designed to follow the Expedia Group booking experience even more closely, combining specialist customisation with business travel buyers in mind.

New functionality includes the integration of SilverRail, a rail aggregator which enables pan-global rail bookings directly from the tool. This summer is expected to see further evolution of the OBT with the integration of NDC using a similar ‘connection via aggregators’ approach.

A key focus has been in improving the native mobile user experience, to help cement adoption rates Traveldoo says dedicated development teams closely reference its parent company’s best practice principles, and have implemented changes that are directly driven by data and usage. It explains that trending data shows “expense management will become a primarily mobile activity during 2019”.


Hotelbeds builds on its strategy to fully integrate Tourico Holidays and GTA into Hotelbeds to form one enhanced bedbank

Hotelbeds is reaching the final stages of the integration of Tourico Holidays and GTA into its bedbank platform. As of the close of January approximately 90% of the company’s existing 170,000 hotel partners are now gaining access to all of the company’s 60,000 travel buying intermediaries across the portfolio of Hotelbeds’ brands.

This follows a process of unifying all hotel partners onto one new and unique contract. The process began in last year and involved working with hotel partners who were working with one or more of the three bedbank brands – Tourico Holidays, GTA, and Hotelbeds – prior to Tourico Holidays and GTA joining Hotelbeds in 2017.

Under the new contracts hotels are now able to distribute their accommodation under the same terms and conditions, whilst additionally benefiting from standardised and centralised processes for billing and account management.

Bringing all its hotel partners onto one contract forms part of the Hotelbeds strategy to find ever simpler and more efficient means to offer its hotel partners bookings that don’t compete with the direct channel.


UATP Network to offer Conferma Pay virtual payments

UATP has partnered with Conferma Pay to deliver virtual payments with superior spend controls and reconciliation for airlines and agencies. With virtual payment, a unique, one-time card number is generated for each booking with all of the transactions reconciled back to the central account. They are emerging as a secure, fraud-proof method of booking and reconciling air spend for corporations.

Virtual payments brings efficiencies and control by eliminating the need for manual reconciliation of booking and payment data. The process is automatic, saving hours of back office file-checking, eliminating billing issues, making internal tracking and spend reporting much easier for organisations.

The spending controls allow organisations to proactively manage purchasing, ensuring the payment is only made through authorised channels for specific amounts. This ensures there’s no ambiguity about approved spending, reducing the cost for all parties involved in the transaction process.

UATP’s customers now have the option to utilise virtual payments through a global corporate travel ecosystem. The solution powered by Conferma Pay is integrated directly at the point of sale into all major global distribution systems, over 100 booking tools and 500 travel management companies.