Posted November 8, 2018

Editor’s note: TripActions has rebranded as Navan.

Corporate travel is hard. It shouldn’t be, but it is. The tools, often analog travel agencies integrating with SaaS systems which were originally on-premise systems, are notoriously frustrating to use. The experience for the company is that few follow the travel policy. The experience for the employee is that they deal with a horrible user experience.

Employees endure a litany of error messages, out of policy notifications, and a constant need for approval to go around rigid and unintelligent travel policies. This wastes time, contributes to a culture of micro-management and lack of trust, and leads to employee frustration. Ultimately, travelers just abandon the travel booking tool and expense what they book on their own. For example, say you need to be in the Bay Area for an important customer meeting during Dreamforce. The company policy is $350 per night, but good luck finding a hotel under that price at that time. So you get error notices in Concur, you attempt to book a room which is then declined, and then you need to get your VP to approve the out of policy spend just so you can make it to the important meeting. Who came up with this system?!

Sadly, the data supports the anecdote:

  • 83% of business travelers spend more than 1 hour booking each work trip, a costly loss of productive work time
  • 50% of corporate travelers today ignore their company’s travel solutions, thereby limiting a company’s ability to track and manage travel spend and to account for traveling employees in the event of an emergency
  • 64% of corporate travelers feel like they have to fend for themselves on the road, with only 8% reporting that their travel management company proactively reaches out when something goes wrong

But it shouldn’t be this way. The Internet exists. We can do better.

Two of my smartest old colleagues from my time at HP thought so. Ilan Twig and Ariel Cohen spent over a decade each living in these broken systems and they thought “there must be a better way.” Their company, TripActions, applies modern software, machine learning, 24/7 traveler support, and smart incentives to the old problem. The result is a completely personalized, easy-to-use experience that treats employees like VIP customers. TripActions uses traveler feedback to deliver the very best flights and hotels in the way the employee wants them, with all their favorite preferences and amenities, and conveniently and seamlessly provides the employee with meaningful rewards for complying with the corporate policy. Rather than trying to force a brittle, static travel policy onto a dynamic situation, TripActions offers flexible incentives that optimize spend, convenience, and user experience.

  • For every search that is done on TripActions, it calculates a “Price to Beat”. The Price to Beat considers real-time inventory availability and pricing, user preferences such as loyalty club memberships, and company preferences including corporate program memberships and company policies. The Price to Beat is dynamic and specific to every individual search that is done.
  • If a traveler books an option that is below the Price to Beat, she earns a share of the savings, on average 30% of every dollar saved.
  • Travelers accrue their savings as TripActions Rewards, which can be redeemed for Amazon gift cards, upgrades on future business trips or personal vacations booked on TripActions.

In this way, TripActions modernizes the corporate travel experience while rewarding both the company and the employee.

And it’s totally convenient. Your expense report automagically gets filled out, your frequent flyer, TSA, and Global Entry information are entered for you, and the TripActions support team proactively intervenes when they notice your flight is delayed. How much better does it work than the old-style systems that take an hour to book one trip? The average time to book a trip on TripActions is 6 minutes.

This all sounded too good to be true, but when we called their marquee customers like Sara Lee Frozen Bakery, Lyft, and Dropbox, we were impressed to see that customer satisfaction was off-the-charts for the employees, the finance team, and the corporate travel department — something never before seen in this market.

For these reasons, I am thrilled to announce that Andreessen Horowitz is investing in TripActions and I am joining the board.