BTN's annual answer book for business travel managers.
After launching its long-tail technology integration
platform SolutionSource in February, BCD Travel has added Pana as a
Pana started its life in the managed travel space as a
chatbot-powered travel assistant but changed course 12 months ago to chase a
niche within the niche: facilitating travel program-compliant itineraries and
data capture for nontraditional travelers like recruits, contractors and consultants.
It also provides a communications channel that smooths booking and travel processes.
Since last year, Pana has sold its technology
and service platform directly to corporates, getting traction with companies
like Canadian e-commerce company Shopify, as well as tech-forward names like Quora and Segment.com.
Shopify travel lead Nick Lalumiere told BTN his company had focused the
technology on Shopify's intensifying recruitment needs. Candidates had
been "doing a lot of back and forth with [internal Shopify] coordinators,
and it took a lot of time." With the company expanding globally,
international travel also was adding to the complexity. Pana's text- and
chat-based system, Lalumiere said, allows candidates to speak directly with
Pana agents rather than using Shopify's HR team and coordinators as go-betweens.
And the platform provides a friendly on-brand experience that Shopify wants to
promote to candidates.
All that stays in place with Pana's SolutionSource
partnership, said Pana founder and CEO Devon Tivona. The difference between a
direct relationship and one facilitated through BCD Travel, according to
Tivona, is that onboarding and integrations will be easier through the travel
management company channel. "We're going to work first with BCD to set up
all the policy, supplier set, negotiated rates and duty of care," he said.
"Clients will just need to do specific local recommendations if they choose
to." Plus, the data: Because travel is booked on the BCD platform, the
data is integrated directly into TMC reporting that will marry all the guest-travel
volume and preferred supplier usage with traditional employee travel via BCD's
DecisionSource platform. Pana fulfills direct client travel through Adelman.
For now, BCD has cornered the deep integration, even though
Tivona underscored that Pana is a data-forward company that can provide its
data to any TMC a direct client prefers. The "wild card," he said, is
whether TMC partners are equipped to receive it. "Some of our direct
customers pipe our data into tools like Domo." He also said more TMC
integrations are on the way.
The decision to integrate with BCD first was
driven by mutual customer demand and some mutual admiration. "SolutionSource
is one of the coolest things I've seen a TMC do lately," said Tivona.
Other long-tail technologies on that platform include FairFly, Freebird,
Rocketrip, Taxeo, Tripbam and Yapta. BCD SVP of product planning and development
Yannis Karmis praised Pana for turning "a typically manual, complex
process into a simple, elegant experience for guest travelers."
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