If your company is asking “What are the best corporate travel software solutions in 2021?” – you are starting out with the wrong question. No corporate travel software solution is one-size-fits-all for companies, however much marketing would like to persuade you otherwise. Think in terms of vehicles: a Ferrari might be a best-in-class car, but when what you need is an eighteen-wheeler or a minivan, it may be unnecessary cost that will not go to use.
The best corporate travel software solutions run a similarly wide gamut: they may all be traveling the same road, seeking to improve corporate travel programs, particularly efficiency or savings, but the needs they meet range from all-purpose booking/expense tools to enhancing specific features or problem areas. At the one of the spectrum you have business expense software, such as market-dominant SAP Concur or its more lightweight competitor Hipmunk, and travel management platforms, like TripActions, outright competing with Travel Management Companies to be used instead. On the other hand, you have app-driven, highly-specific, needs-meeting software, such as parking reservation solutions like Spot Hero and The Parking Spot.
What Gap Does This Fill?
In order to truly weigh the best corporate travel software solutions, the question should always be “what gap or need does this fill?” Sometimes, the solution may be a tool improving the user experience: increasingly, one software type we’re seeing is advances in AI and traveler chat, increasingly part of TMC’s own product suites of offerings.
More often than not, and especially coming from 2020, the need companies are seeking when exploring new options is simply savings.
Savings: a constant, annual-returning need for travel programs. If looking to explore corporate travel software that can solve the riddle of where to dig up more savings, particularly at a time when air and hotel contracts are being rolled over, here are a few options.
Corporate Travel Software Solution Types
Consider which type might best match your company:
Rebooking software, popularized by TRIPBAM and its imitators, promises savings without changing how your company books travel: it changes what happens after travel is booked.
Quick summary: TRIPBAM focuses on hotel rate shopping, searching for lower rates after the initial booking is placed up until the trip takes place.
Essential if: looking for ongoing, reliable savings, especially for programs with high hotel volume, and a final answer to travelers claiming they can find a better hotel rate outside the corporate travel program. With hotel market fluctuations likely throughout 2021, TRIPBAM savings may well be maximized.
Think twice if: company culture is inflexible. While TRIPBAM’s industry-leading solution works for companies of all sizes, and its rebooking features, i.e., how many times, how exact the room match has to be, can be customized… savings are greater the more open to rebooking options a company chooses to be. Note too travelers will receive new itineraries, with new confirmation numbers, whenever a rebooking takes place.
Quick summary: Where TRIPBAM addresses changing hotel fares, FairFly re-shops airline fares, providing notification and opportunity to rebook should the price drop. Following COVID, FairFly has also increased focus on unused ticket management.
Essential if: looking for the air equivalent of TRIPBAM and to obtain optimal costs for each air booking; as FairFly essentially pays for itself out of savings procured, with no cost when not in use, its Faresaver is about as straightforward as solutions come.
Think twice if: rebookings and change fees are difficult to manage for your accounting, or if concerned about travelers’ seats changing. Even though FairFly is generally able to rebook the traveler in the exact same seat, companies with fussy travelers or policies focusing on lowest-cost restricted tickets will want to weigh cost/benefit.
If your company has a TMC, find out whether they have a relationship with these rebooking options: make sure to be on the lookout for any added fees, since while many TMCs partner with these tools, others may prioritize their in-house equivalent.
Often “gamifying” the process, the best of these corporate travel software solutions seek to make booking seem fun and personally worthwhile to travelers… while minimizing travel spend
Quick summary: Perhaps the best known of incentive-driven corporate travel software solutions, RocketTrip offers a ‘Price to Beat’ allowed within policy and, if the traveler elects when booking for options that come in below those options, the traveler earns personal rewards.
Essential if: looking to positively incentivize travelers and encourage them toward lower-cost stays and economy flights or improve Online Booking Tool (OBT) adoption
Think twice if: your travelers are unlikely to willingly downgrade, you drive travelers toward particular preferred properties or have risk concerns about ‘downgrade’ property choices, your travelers require less-restricted tickets due to frequent changes, or the low-OBT adoption rate is due to the nature of your bookings (requiring more hands-on agent assistance)
Another class of software, whether aggressively or quietly, seeks to pursue savings by bringing stray bookings back within the fold of travel policy, and particularly tackling the question of leakage. While a quiet issue, leakage is often the largest issue facing corporate travel programs, with at times 50% of a company’s corporate spend going uncaptured—and as such, escaping duty of care.
Quick summary: Via Chrome extension, Shep Travel overlays data and guidance and captures bookings, on whatever site individual travelers make them.
Essential if: looking to catch issues upfront, by advising travelers when spending more than they should or sending alerts to manager, provided the travelers are using Chrome
Think twice if: company culture is ill-suited to the Big Brother nature of overlay information and warnings while booking, no matter what site you are on
Quick summary: In coordination with any program type, CapTrav captures any travel data being booked in another way via your company’s email
Essential if: looking to combat leakage and leverage those escaped bookings to improve your airline and hotel contracts, the largest drivers of savings. Especially for companies that don’t crack down on the expense end, rejecting any expense that was not booked through proper channels, this software provides a clear-cut solution and a seamless one, working without disturbance to travelers
Think twice if: CapTrav’s versatility and backend nature should work well with any travel program, regardless of culture, size, using a TMC or not, but while less invasive than other options, will still need to be approved by internal IT due to its drive by email capture.
Full disclosure: CapTrav is the only third party software KesselRun Corporate Solutions has chosen to partner with in our sixteen years in operation, the best answer to the malingering leakage question, and one poised to address it in a new decade, that we have seen across all our experience.
In our experience with clients of all sizes across the markets, and with our close ear-to-the-ground relationships within the industries, we have had the chance to work firsthand with nearly every software solution in the corporate travel realm and can address any questions on that front. We greatly respect and cheer on all software advances, whether ‘disruptors’ moving corporate travel in new directions or in-house TMC products that keep the longstanding industry giants at the top of the technological game. We’ve seen all of products mentioned here be the right fit for one client or another—just not every client. As travel programs are customized to the client, so too should be its software solutions, particularly when it comes to driving savings by changing the way your travelers book.
When it comes to the best corporate travel software, in 2021, you have options. The question is this: which solution best fits your needs?
KesselRun corporate travel consulting has helped hundreds of companies with the same questions and needs. Find out how they can help your company solve its corporate travel software needs in 2021.