Business Travel Show Europe Innovation Faceoff: Meet the finalists


The Business
Travel Show Europe Innovation Faceoff finalists represent the most cutting-edge products, tech
and services developed by start-ups to address big challenges facing the business travel
industry.

The Innovation
Faceoff takes place online and will be streamed live to visitors attending the
in-person event at ExCeL London on 30 September-1 October 2021. Register at
businesstravelshoweurope.com to for a free pass to both.

PredictX logo 2

Zenab
Ishani, sales and marketing associate, PredictX

What do you
do?

PredictX is a Software-as-a-Service
(SaaS) company that develops, delivers and manages decision support
applications. Our mission is to empower businesses to make better strategic
decisions while automating tactical ones, all based on better and more accurate
data. Our AI technology allows our clients to predict future business costs and
trends, see the likely future impacts of their decisions today and use this to optimise
their policies and strategies.

What problem
do you solve?

Our advanced
analytics platform gives companies the power and independence to improve
sourcing and policy decisions for all aspects of employee generated spend (EGS). EGS is any spend
which is produced by the employees of a company while conducting business activities, and thus includes travel and expense
as well as meetings and events, subscriptions, home office applications and a
host of other spend areas.

We use
ground-breaking technology that enables users to improve stakeholder engagement,
manage risk and achieve – and exceed – savings goals. In addition, our
investment in R&D enables innovative applications to solve complex travel
and other EGS problems.

What are the
benefits to travellers and organisations with travellers?

For travel
specifically, we use technology like machine learning to combine data sources
including TMC, card, expense, corporate hierarchy, supplier and meetings data
and provide a 360° travel programme view. Our intuitive analytics applications
provide travel‐related data on demand at an executive summary and category
manager level while simultaneously allowing drill‐downs to supplier,
department, trip and detailed transactions.

What are
your plans for future growth?

We envisage
several areas that are key to growth. The pandemic has refocused corporations’ outlook on how
travel should be managed and created an environment where programmes need to be
reimagined and seen in the context of the holistic management of employee
mobility.

We believe that
our approach leaves us uniquely qualified to address these issues and enable
our partners in travel to emerge from the pandemic reformed but empowered.

Climate Neutral logo 2

Willem
Melis, carbon advisor, Climate Neutral Group

What do you
do?

We offer accurate
calculations for the CO2 emissions of flights, giving companies a clear insight
on their emissions
and allowing them to compensate these via climate offsetting projects directly via the travel
agent or in after‐calculation.

What problem
do you solve?

By using a
variety of data we guarantee flight-specific calculations. Rather than
averages, we offer accurate data giving the correct CO2 information to
companies.

What are the
benefits to travellers and organisations with travellers?

A traveller
sees the correct CO2 emissions when making a reservation and can decide on taking
another airline using a less polluting plane, as this information can be shown directly in the
tool. This indirectly pushes airlines to use the most modern aircraft. This accurate data
is no longer based on averages and as such a company will only have to
compensate their effective
CO2 emissions. Very often our tool calculates lower emissions thanks to the
variety of criteria taken
into account.

What are
your plans for future growth?

We want to
create impact and have as many travel agents as possible proposing this
solution to their clients. People
can continue flying if necessary but should take account of their emissions. Our
core markets are
France, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands and Belgium.

PayPense logo 2

Christopher
Hecht, co‐founder and CEO, PayPense

What do you
do?

PayPense is a
corporate credit card and expense management system in one. Employees receive a PayPense card
and an app that can be used to apply for funds in real time. This results in
budgets that can be
defined in terms of amount, occasion and duration. Payments can be made at any Mastercard
acceptance point worldwide. For each payment, a receipt is captured, digitised
and checked
according to country‐specific requirements.

What problem
do you solve?

We avoid any
cash advance payment by employees. With PayPense everything is company billed
and paid without
having a time‐consuming reimbursement process afterwards.

What are the
benefits to travellers and organisations with travellers?

For travellers
as mentioned above – there is no need to pay in advance for any company expenses. For companies
we’re offering a safe and compliant way to support employees with liquidity
when and wherever it’s
needed. Which means instead of giving them cash in advance or handing out corporate
credit cards, where the spend behaviour cannot be controlled by the firm, we’re
taking care of that.
An employee gets liquidity for a particular request and only if that demand was approved by the
line manager can money be spent. The solution today is already integrated into
Amadeus Cytric and the corporate booking portal of HRS. PayPense can be used
for any kind of payment. Travel is an important case, but the system works for
any B2B purchases.

What are your
plans for future growth?

Bring your own
bank – as we’re focused on the big corporates, we bring our intelligence into
the corporate’s card programme. Corporate doesn’t want to move away from their
existing suppliers, especially when it comes to the finance part. Therefore, we
want to offer them the ability to stay with their current supplier (like
Citibank) with our solution on top, making it even more convenient for
the corporate in the future. We also want to offer carbon offsets.

Element logo 2

Gavin Smith,
director, Element Travel Technology

What do you
do?

We make
selecting, adopting and maximising the value of tech easy. We are travel
technology specialists
with over 20 years’ real‐world experience in TMC operations and corporate
travel. Whether it is
corporate online booking systems, mid‐to‐back-office software, or chatbot
servicing, our
partnerships with leading travel tech providers give TMCs access to new,
cutting-edge technology, backed by the all‐important layer of personalised
consultancy, service and on‐going support. In an
ever‐evolving technological landscape, smaller TMCs can find it hard to support
the increasing
technological demands of their customers.

We have focused
on developing our ability around NDC to advise the SME market and connect them to the right
suppliers. We work with a carefully selected group of tech products from the
world’s leading providers, helping our TMC customers select and implement the
best choice for them.

What problem
do you solve?

Element enables
smaller TMCs to compete with their larger industry peers and to continue to
grow their
businesses in line with client demands for technologies and associated
services.

There is no one
else that we know of who can provide expense management and three online
booking tools, with more tech to come, on one contract with one service
package. Straight away our clients can offer their clients a choice – something
they cannot do now, as they can only focus on one product due to resource and
investment restrictions.

We support a
couple of clients with SAP Concur – they have a resell deal, but we do all the
support for them and their clients. This has helped them win business off other
TMCs due to our experience.

The primary
suppliers have demand for their products from smaller TMCs and they cannot
fulfil this requirement.
This has led to dissatisfaction from travel managers, travellers and their
businesses in general, as
they cannot get the tech they want from the service provider of their choice.

Grapevine logo

Jack Dow, founder
and CEO, Grapevine

What do you
do?

Grapevine is an
AI engine designed specifically to improve how corporate TMCs engage with
travellers and drive revenue. Our AI engine Marvin integrates with TMC data
sources, identifies booking opportunities and then retargets travellers with ‘right
time, right channel’ personalised and bookable recommendations, providing total
trip value to the traveller and increased booking commissions for the TMC.

What problem
do you solve?

TMCs currently
leak more than 70 per cent of non‐air and rail bookings to external sources.
Not only does this impact TMC revenues, but it impacts corporates’ travel
policy and duty of care obligations.

What are the
benefits to travellers and organisations with travellers?

Travellers get
a great end‐to‐end booking experience and a trusted source of personalised recommendations.
Corporates ensure that their employees book in‐policy, as well as having confidence to
meet their duty of care obligations.

What are
your plans for future growth?

We’re initially
focused on driving value to TMCs and their corporate clients. Once we have
established ourselves, we plan to offer additional tools to corporate travel
bookers before rolling out to other travel verticals.

hubli logo 2

Ciaran
Delaney, founder and CEO, hubli

What do you do?
Hubli is the
first enterprise platform for in‐person connections. We combine meetings,
workspaces and group stays
in one platform, allowing teams to succeed from anywhere without sacrificing sustainability,
safety, or control.

What problem
do you solve?

15 million US
employees have left their jobs since April 2021, while 67 per cent of employees
are craving in‐person connections. They want social and interpersonal time with
colleagues. Group travel for distributed teams is set to become a rapidly growing
segment in business travel. Hubli is the online booking tool powering these
connections.

What are the
benefits to travellers and organisations with travellers?

Travellers have
access to a state‐of‐the‐art booking solution with more than 185,000 spaces
around the world available on demand when they need them. Travellers can
self‐serve booking in‐policy while also easily managing invites and rooming
lists in one place.

Organisations
have the controls they need to ensure safety, sustainability and savings. Hubli
is now used by organisations
like BP that have more than 10,000 employees on the platform with the ability
to connect in‐person following central safety and security controls.

What are
your plans for future growth?

Hubli will
shortly launch a new sustainability module which will help organisations to
track savings from less team
commuting and travel while also giving them the tools they need to drive
increased carbon savings.
Travellers will be able minimise their carbon footprint by picking meeting
cities based on the
lowest carbon emissions while also booking spaces based on their sustainability policies. All
carbon savings will be also reported back to the travel management team.



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